As a 22-year-old infielder with the 1946 Hopkinsville Hoppers in the KITTY League, Harold “Buster” Boguskie led the team with a .354 batting average. Thirteen of his 190 hits were home runs, and it was natural that he found himself on the roster of his hometown Nashville Volunteers in 1947.
Boguskie broke into the lineup early but he shared infield duties with newly-acquired Hank Schenz from the Chicago Cubs. Playing 76 games at second base he also played 15 games in the outfield, hitting for a .252 average but his home run production was only four.
On April 16, 1948, Boguskie made an impact on Nashville, Southern Association, and national fans as he collected six hits, just missing his seventh on a close play at first base. His special feat occurred in from of an Opening Day crowd of 9,222 in attendance, the largest since the 1932 home opener drew 14,502. Chattanooga manager George Myatt, in his debut as field general, challenged Boguskie by ordering his pitcher to intentionally walk pinch hitter Joe Damato to get Boguskie to the plate for his seventh plate appearance. Boguskie nearly beat out the throw.
The feisty 5’7”, 155-pound Boguskie often met other challenges, never turning his back on an opportunity to take up for himself. At Mobile on April 25th, he and the Bears’ equally-feisty George Shuba, who was 25 pounds heavier than Boguskie, were both ejected for scuffling at second base after Shuba’s hard slide in an attempt to break up a double play.
Boguskie’s bat occasionally showed promise. On May 24th he slammed a round-tripper and knocked in three runs in a 6-2 victory over the Chicks in Memphis, and on July 23rd he narrowly missed having a three-homer night as his eighth-inning drive bounced off the right field foul pole for a single in a 6-5 loss to Mobile in the nightcap of a double header.
Sharing second base and shortstop duties, Boguskie finished with a .289 average but had only five home runs. The Vols won the 1948 regular season pennant, finishing ahead of the Memphis Chicks.
In the first round of the Southern Association playoffs against Birmingham, on September 26th Boguskie got the worst end of a hard collision with Barons third baseman Mickey Rutner. Boguskie suffered knee ligament and cartilage damage and was out for the rest of the season. Following surgery at Nashville’s Baptist Hospital, he spent several weeks recuperating.
It would not be the end of Buster Boguskie’s Nashville baseball career.
© 2013 by Skip Nipper. All Rights Reserved.