Buff Biographies: Johnny Bucha


The above cartoon is an excerpt from “Your 1948 Houston Buffs, Dixie Champions: Brief Biographies By Morris Frank and Adie Marks (1948).

Catcher Johnny Bucha was one of those former Houston Buffs who did get his major league cup of coffee extended through the entire breakfast club hour. Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania on January 25, 1925, Bucha played 2 games with the 1948 St. Louis Cardinals, 22 games with the 1950 Cards, and 60 games with the 1953 Detroit Tigers, where he also picked up his only big league homer. His batting average for the entire big league foray was .205

Johnny Bucha Detroit Tigers 1953

Johnny Bucha
Detroit Tigers

As a 16-season minor leaguer (1943-49, 1951-52, 1954-60) Johnny Bucha did quite well with the stick, hitting for a career batting average of .289 with 96 home runs. In his lone 1948 season with the Houston Buffs, Johnny Bucha played a back up catcher role, hitting .236 with one homer in only 32 games. Bucha’s best year was 1954 when he batted .331 with 16 homers for two AAA clubs at St. Paul and Buffalo. He had a higher .338 BA earlier for 1944 Allentown, but that was for a wartime Class B club.

As a kid, I remember thinking that Johnny Bucha (BR/TR) (5’11”, 190 LBS.) both looked and acted like a catcher. Maybe the fact that he hardly ever beat any land speed records running out ground balls or stealing bases contributed to the impression.

Johnny Bucha died on April 28, 1996 at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He was 71 when he passed.

Rest in Peace, Johnny B!

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