The Bush Leagues: Joe Brovia, Joe Bauman and Bob Crues
Sometimes, no matter how good you are in the minors, you just can’t catch a break and make it to the majors. Meet Joe Brovia, Joe Bauman and Bob Crues, three ballplayers who enjoyed terrific, and in certain instances, historic minor league careers. However, only Brovia ever got a taste of what it’s like to play in Major League Baseball. Brovia, when he was 33, was called up to the Cincinnati Reds to be used exclusively as a pinch hitter. In 21 games, he hit just .111, was sent back down and never again appeared in the majors. Bauman was the first professional baseball player to ever hit more than 70 homeruns in a single season, while Crues also enjoyed a historic season belting 69 homeruns in 1948 for Amarillo in Class C Ball. Gaylon White who wrote the recently released book, “Left On Base in the Bush Leagues,” spent years collecting stories and conducting interviews to write this wonderful book that takes a look at all three players and several others. Brovia, prior to his callup to Cincinnati, was hitting .325 for the Oakland Oaks of the PCL which was considered by many to be a third Major League. Brovia slugged 213 homeruns over the course of his minor league career that started with El Paso in 1940 and concluded with Veracruz in the Mexican League in 1957. Bauman caught the eye of the Boston Braves and actually played for Boston’s minor league clubs in Hartford and Milwaukee, but didn’t enjoy the experience. He was quite satisfied with playing in places like Amarillo, Artesia and Roswell. In fact Bauman was so revered in Roswell, the stadium is named after him and he is buried across the street. Crues actually crossed paths with Bauman as the two played together with Amarillo – a nightmare for opposing pitchers. On this episode of Sports’ Forgotten Heroes we’ll take a look back at the careers of all three AND we’ll also talk a little about Ron Necciai, the only pitcher in professional baseball history to strike out 27 batters in a 9-inning game.
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