Guy Bush

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Guy Terrell Bush
(The Mississippi Mudcat)

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Biographical Information[edit]

"“I smoke several cigars a day, eat sparingly, and just study baseball." - from an AP clipping, 1932, on Guy Bush's offseason preparation habits

"My first baseball cash came from a game in Prairie. Papa got me up at six and I walked 25 miles to pitch a 3 p.m. game. They gave me $1.25. I gave it all to Momma and she was excited as I. A month later, I caught a train to Shannon, rode it to Boonville for a game. I won it, 3-2, and they passed the hat for me. Nickels, dimes and pennies. Papa met me at the station in our horse and buggy. I said, 'Daddy, I have all the money in the world.' We dumped out the flour sack and we had $98. Boy, I was proud to hand it to them. It was more than my family had in four years!" - Guy Bush, story reprinted on the back of a 1988 Conlon World Wide Sports National All-Stars trading card


"The Mississippi Mudcat" Guy Bush was a stalwart of the Chicago Cubs pitching staff for a good majority of the 1920s and 1930s. With the Pittsburgh Pirates, he surrendered the final two home runs in the storied career of Babe Ruth.

Signed by the Cubbies for $1,000 in 1919, Guy debuted in 1923 and became a trusted contributor by the 1925 season. He was the National League leader, albeit retroactively, in saves in both 1925 and 1929. Working primarily in relief in 1926, he put it all together with a 13-9, 2.86 record in 35 games, becoming predominantly a starter for the remainder of his Chicago tenure. In 1929, he led the NL with 50 appearances and 8 saves while making 30 starts to the tune of an 18-7, 3.66 record in a career best 270 2/3 innings, finishing 12th in the NL MVP vote. He additionally made two appearances in the Fall Classic, with a 1-0, 0.82 mark in the Cubs' losing effort to the Philadelphia Athletics.

Guy's numbers sunk hard in the Year of the Hitter (15-10, 6.20) but he bounced back by 1932 with a 19-11, 3.21 season. Making another trip to the World Series, he was bombarded by Yankee bats, posting a 14.29 ERA in 2 starts lasting a combined 5 2/3 innings. He shook off the postseason struggles with a 20-12, 2.75 mark in 1933, tying Ben Cantwell and Dizzy Dean for second in the NL in victories. Following one more strong year in Chicago (18-10, 3.83 for the 1934 club), he was dealt to the Pittsburgh Pirates in a five-player trade. In his final season of steady work, finishing 11-11 with a 4.32 ERA, Guy and "The Babe" had a date with history on May 25. Now playing for the Boston Braves, Ruth had a three home run game, belting the first off Red Lucas and the last two off Bush, retiring a week later on June 2nd. As for Guy, he kicked around until 1938, making a surprise return during World War II as a closing option for 4 games with the Cincinnati Reds in 1945. In a 17 season career, he finished 176-136 with a 3.86 ERA in 542 games (308 starts).

Following his playing days, Guy managed the Battle Creek Belles of the AAGPBL from 1951 to 1952. He died of cardiac arrest in 1985.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2-time NL Saves Leader (1925 & 1929)
  • NL Games Pitched Leader (1929)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 7 (1928-1934)
  • 20 Wins Seasons: 1 (1933)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 7 (1928-1930 & 1932-1935)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Matthew M. Clifford: "Guy Bush: That Guy From Pittsburgh", in Cecilia M. Tan, ed.: Steel City Stories, The National Pastime, SABR, 2018, pp. 38-41.
  • Gregory H. Wolf: "Guy Bush", in Gregory H. Wolf, ed.: Winning on the North Side: the 1929 Chicago Cubs, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2015, pp. 29-35. ISBN 978-1-933599-89-2

Related Sites[edit]