The only six games and eight plate appearances of Mike Buskey‘s career in Major League Baseball came with the 1977 Philadelphia Phillies. That makes him the perfect position player representative from that club for this ‘Phillies 50’ series.
A San Francisco, California native, Buskey signed prior to the 1971 MLB season with the Chicago White Sox as an undrafted free agent out of the University of San Francisco.
In December of 1975 he was traded to the Phillies in the deal that brought veteran starting pitcher Jim Kaat to Philadelphia in exchange for pitcher Dick Ruthven and a pair of prospects, infielder Alan Bannister and pitcher Roy Thomas.
Buskey would spend the 1976 and 1977 seasons as the starting shortstop with the Phillies top farm club, Triple-A Oklahoma City. Then when rosters expanded in September 1977 he finally received his first promotion to Major League Baseball.
On September 5, 1977 manager Danny Ozark inserted Buskey in place of Larry Bowa for his MLB debut at shortstop for the bottom of the 9th inning during an 11-1 blowout victory over the host Pittsburgh Pirates in the second game of a doubleheader at Three Rivers Stadium.
One of his few real highlights would come on September 18, 1977 at Busch Stadium in Saint Louis. Trailing the host Cardinals by 12-2, Ozark cleared his bench in the bottom of the 6th inning, giving nearly all of his starters a rest en masse.
Buskey would end up getting two plate appearances. The first of those came with one out and a man on in the top of the 8th inning. Buskey lined a single to left field off Cards’ reliever Buddy Shultz for his first career big-league base hit. Four batters later he would score his first run on a two-run double by Jerry Martin.
Buskey would see similar late innings mop-up duty in four more September games as the Phillies coasted to their second consecutive NL East Division crown. In addition he would make one start, playing the full game at shortstop on September 28, 1977 after the division was safely clinched. He went 0-3 that afternoon at Wrigley Field during a 5-2 victory over the host Chicago Cubs.
Overall, Buskey went 2-7 with a triple, an RBI, and a run scored during his eight plate appearances across those half-dozen games. He returned to Triple-A Oklahoma City during an injury-marred 1978 campaign and on September 11 would have his contract purchased by the Houston Astros. He would appear in the final 29 games of his pro career with their Triple-A club at Charleston over the final month of that 1978 season.
In retirement, Buskey eventually got into retail sales and became senior vice president of human resources with Home Depot during the 2000’s. In 2010 he was named to that same position at GameStop, and then became their president of U.S. stores in February 2015, overseeing the company’s more than 2,000 locations.