Buzz Capra

Lee William Capra (born October 1, 1947), is an American former professional baseball pitcher, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves, from 1971 to 1977. Nicknamed "Buzz", by a neighbor as a child,[1] Capra was a National League (NL) All-Star and the NL earned run average (ERA) leader, in 1974.

Buzz Capra
Born: October 1, 1947 (age 71)
Chicago, Illinois
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 15, 1971, for the New York Mets
Last MLB appearance
September 26, 1977, for the Atlanta Braves
MLB statistics
Win–loss record31–37
Earned run average3.87
Career highlights and awards

Baseball career

Early years

Capra was a shortstop at Lane Technical College Prep High School in the Roscoe Village neighborhood on the Northside of Chicago. Besides playing shortstop, he began pitching at Illinois State University (ISU), and compiled a 17-5 record & 1.58 ERA. Capra was a team Co-captain his senior year, and led the Redbirds to the 1969 NCAA Division II Baseball Championship.[2]

Capra was selected late in the 1969 Major League Baseball draft, by the New York Mets. Though primarily a pitcher, he did play some short and second base, with the Pompano Beach Mets, in 1969. He went 33-10 with a 2.49 ERA & 367 strikeouts, over three seasons in the Mets' farm system, to earn a September call-up, in 1971.

New York Mets

In 1971, Capra made three appearances out of the bullpen, and did not allow an earned run in his first two big league appearances. He was not, however, so lucky in his third appearance: Facing the St. Louis Cardinals at Shea Stadium, Capra entered the game in the tenth inning, and only retired one of the seven batters he faced (Jorge Roque, who bunted Joe Torre to second after Torre had led off the inning with a single), on his way to allowing five runs and taking his first major league loss.[3]

Capra won his first major league start, over the San Diego Padres, on April 25, 1972;[4] however, he found himself back in the minors, by the All-Star break.[5] Capra also split the 1973 season between the Mets & the Triple-A Tidewater Tides. While all ten of his Tidewater appearances were starts, he was used exclusively in relief at the major league level. Capra earned his first major league save, on June 27, 1973, against the Philadelphia Phillies, while pitching four innings of no-hit ball.[6] Although he was on the Mets’ 1973 World Series roster, he did not appear in the 1973 National League Championship Series or World Series.

Atlanta Braves

During Spring training 1974, the Mets sold Capra's contract to the Atlanta Braves. His record as a reliever stood at 0-2, with one save (earned the evening Hank Aaron hit his record-breaking 715th home run, on April 8, 1974),[7] and a 3.06 ERA, when he replaced an injured Ron Reed, in the first inning, on May 15, against the Padres. Capra pitched six innings of one hit ball to earn the win[8] — and Reed's spot in the starting rotation.[9]

Over his next three games, Capra went 2-0, with a 1.00 ERA. He allowed just three walks, while striking out fifteen, and began a Braves-record streak of 26 innings pitched without allowing an earned run. Over the month of June, Capra went 6-0 with a 1.05 ERA, three shutouts, and another complete game, to set a team record with nine consecutive wins, on his way to earning NL Player of the Month honors, and selection to the NL All-Star team by his former manager with the Mets, Yogi Berra.[10] (He did not make an appearance in the game.)[11] Capra cooled off during July and August (3-5, 4.43 ERA), but reverted to form in September, to end the season with a major league-best 2.28 ERA, 0.10 better than teammate, Phil Niekro (who finished second in the NL), and .21 better than American League (AL) leader, Catfish Hunter of the Oakland A’s.[12] He also held opposing batters to an NL-leading .208 batting average against (BAA).

Capra won his first two starts of the 1975 season; however, a twinge in his pitching arm — that he had begun feeling toward the end of the previous season — worsened.[13] Capra lost his next four starts, and was shut down for the season on June 8, with a 4-7 record and 4.25 ERA.

Capra didn't return to the Braves until September 1, 1976, and was roughed up by the Chicago Cubs, in his first game back.[14] He was relegated to mop up duty over his next four appearances, and ended the season 0-1 with an 8.68 ERA.

Capra‘s first game of the 1977 season also went poorly,[15] but he pitched effectively enough in his next four appearances (3 earned runs in 11.1 innings, while holding opposing batters to a .179 batting average), to be placed in the starting rotation when an injury to Andy Messersmith opened a spot. He was 0-4, with an 8.55 ERA, in four starts, before reverting to relief. Capra won his first game back in the bullpen,[16] for his first win since he beat the Mets on May 25, 1975 (two days shy of two years earlier).[17]

Messersmith suffered a second injury (on July 3), shutting him down for the season, and gave Capra a second shot at starting. He beat the Cincinnati Reds' "Big Red Machine," on July 13,[18] then, on August 10, showed his old form against the Padres, allowing only two hits in nine innings, in an extra-inning game, where he was credited with a no-decision.[19] Capra notched a win in the final game of his career, against the Houston Astros, September 26, 1977.[20]

From the time Capra had re-entered the starting rotation, he had gone 2-4, with a 5.02 ERA, in sixteen starts over the remainder of the 1977 season. Overall, that season, Capra was 2-8, with a 5.84 ERA as a starter, and 4-3, with a 4.58 ERA in relief.


The Braves released Capra at the end of Spring training, 1978,[21] and he retired as a player, shortly thereafter. He then returned to ISU, as pitching coach for the Redbirds; Capra went on to become a pitching coach and manager, in the Mets’, Phillies’, and Braves' respective farm systems.[22]

While attending ISU, Capra had earned his degree in teaching, and would teach ceramics at a Chicago high school, during the off-season, while still a player.[9] He is a member of the Illinois State Athletics Percy Family Hall of Fame.[2]

Career stats

31 37 .456 3.87 142 61 16 5 5 544.1 2338 479 234 256 60 .237 362 258 4.3 18 10 .962 .135

As a batter, Capra had only five runs batted in (RBI), in his playing career, the first coming on May 13, 1972, off Hall of Famer Juan Marichal, of the San Francisco Giants. That day, his second inning single drove in Cleon Jones, with the only run of the game.[23] Capra’s second RBI was also a game-winner, against the Los Angeles Dodgers, on June 24, 1974.[24]

See also


  1. ^ Rosenberg, I.J. (March 31, 2016). "Whatever happened to: Buzz Capra". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  2. ^ a b "Lee Capra". Illinois State University Athletics. 1975.
  3. ^ "St. Louis Cardinals 6, New York Mets 1". September 27, 1971.
  4. ^ "New York Mets 2, San Diego Padres 1". April 25, 1972.
  5. ^ "1973 N.L. Champion Mets Pitcher: Buzz Capra (1971-1973)". Centerfield Maz. October 3, 2017.
  6. ^ "New York Mets 7, Philadelphia Phillies 6". June 27, 1973.
  7. ^ "Atlanta Braves 7, Los Angeles Dodgers 4 (Hank Aaron Hits Home Run #715)". April 8, 1974.
  8. ^ "Atlanta Braves 3, San Diego Padres 0". May 15, 1974.
  9. ^ a b Alred, John (January 26, 1975). "Capra in Atlanta to Play". The Gadsden Times.
  10. ^ Kennedy, Ray (July 8, 1974). "Warning: Dangerous Slurves Ahead". Sports Illustrated.
  11. ^ "1974 Major League Baseball All-Star-Game". July 23, 1974.
  12. ^ "1974 MLB Pitching Leaders". 1974.
  13. ^ Caruso, Gary (1995). "The Braves Encyclopedia". Temple University Press. p. 161.
  14. ^ "Chicago Cubs 7, Atlanta Braves 5". September 1, 1976.
  15. ^ "Los Angeles Dodgers 14, Atlanta Braves 5". April 12, 1977.
  16. ^ "Atlanta Braves 6, San Diego Padres 5". May 23, 1977.
  17. ^ "Atlanta Braves 6, New York Mets 3". May 25, 1975.
  18. ^ "Atlanta Braves 4, Cincinnati Reds 3". July 13, 1977. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  19. ^ "San Diego Padres 2, Atlanta Braves 1". Sports Reference LLC. August 10, 1977. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  20. ^ "Houston Astros at Atlanta Braves Box Score, September 26, 1977". September 26, 1977. Retrieved 2019-05-21.
  21. ^ "Transactions". The Daily News (Kentucky). March 30, 1978. p. 7.
  22. ^ "Alley Cats Buzz Capra". GateHouse Media, LLC. April 20, 1995.
  23. ^ "New York Mets 1, San Francisco Giants 0". May 13, 1972.
  24. ^ "Atlanta Braves 4, Los Angeles Dodgers 3". June 24, 1974.

External links

Preceded by
Ralph Garr
National League Player of the Month
June, 1974
Succeeded by
Don Gullett
Preceded by
Mike Marshall
NL Player of the Week
June 30, 1974
Succeeded by
Don Wilson & Steve Rogers
Preceded by
Tom Seaver
Major League Baseball ERA leader
Succeeded by
Jim Palmer
1971 New York Mets season

The 1971 New York Mets season was the tenth regular season for the Mets, who played home games at Shea Stadium. Led by manager Gil Hodges, the team posted an 83–79 record and finished the season tied for third place in the National League East.

1972 New York Mets season

The 1972 New York Mets season was the 11th regular season for the Mets, who played home games at Shea Stadium. Led by manager Yogi Berra, the team had an 83–73 record and finished in third place in the National League's Eastern Division.

1973 New York Mets season

The 1973 New York Mets season was the 12th regular season for the Mets, who played home games at Shea Stadium. Manager Yogi Berra led the team to a National League East title with an 82–79 record, the National League pennant and a defeat by the Oakland Athletics in the World Series. Their .509 winning percentage is the lowest of any pennant-winner in major league history as of 2017. The season was well known for pitcher Tug McGraw's catchphrase "Ya Gotta Believe!!!"

1974 Atlanta Braves season

The 1974 Atlanta Braves season was the ninth season in Atlanta along with the 104th season as a franchise overall. The team finished third in the National League West with a record of 88–74, 14 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. During the season, Braves outfielder Hank Aaron became the all-time career leader in home runs, surpassing Babe Ruth.

1974 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1974 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 45th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 23, 1974, at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League. The game resulted in the National League defeating the American League 7–2.

This marked the third time the Pirates had been host for the All-Star Game (the first two having been in 1944 and the first game in 1959). This would be the first of two times that the game would be played at Three Rivers Stadium, with the stadium hosting again in 1994.

1974 Major League Baseball season

The 1974 Major League Baseball season. The Oakland Athletics won their third consecutive World Series, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers four games to one.

Two notable personal milestones were achieved during the 1974 season. The first came on April 8, when Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves blasted his 715th career home run, breaking the all-time career home run mark of 714 set by Babe Ruth. Aaron would finish his career with 755 home runs, a record that would stand until Barry Bonds broke it in 2007. The second milestone came on September 10, when the St. Louis Cardinals' Lou Brock stole his 105th base off pitcher Dick Ruthven and catcher Bob Boone of the Philadelphia Phillies. This broke the single-season stolen base record of 104, set by Maury Wills in 1962. Brock stole 118 bases, a record that would stand until 1982, when Rickey Henderson stole 130.

1974 New York Mets season

The 1974 New York Mets season was the 13th regular season for the Mets, who played home games at Shea Stadium. Led by manager Yogi Berra, the team finished the season with a record of 71–91, placing fifth in the National League East. This was the first time the Mets had a losing season since 1968.

1975 Atlanta Braves season

The 1975 Atlanta Braves season was the tenth season in Atlanta along with the 105th season as a franchise overall and the 100th in the National League.

1975 Philadelphia Phillies season

The 1975 Philadelphia Phillies season was the 93rd in the history of the franchise. The Phillies finished in second place in the National League East with a record of 86–76, 6​1⁄2 games behind the NL East champion Pittsburgh Pirates. As a result, the Phillies had their first winning season in eight years.

1976 Atlanta Braves season

The 1976 Atlanta Braves season was the 11th season in Atlanta along with the franchise's 106th consecutive year of existence in American professional baseball. The Braves finished in sixth and last place in the National League West Division, compiling a 70–92 (.432) win-loss record; although the 70 victories represented a three-game improvement over the fifth-place 1975 edition, the last-place finish would be the first of four straight years in the NL West divisional basement. The club drew 818,179 fans to Atlanta Stadium, a 53 percent increase over its dismal 1975 attendance of less than 535,000 fans.

1977 Atlanta Braves season

The 1977 Atlanta Braves season was the 107th season for the franchise and their 12th in Atlanta. The team finished in last place in the six-team National League West with a record of 61–101, 37 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Braves hit a major league-leading seven grand slams.All Braves home and away games were broadcast on WTCG-TV which during the offseason, under its owner Ted Turner, became the pioneer superstation in the United States and thus making the Braves the first MLB team to have its games telecast to millions of television viewers around the country aside from the national broadcasts on ABC and NBC which had been the case before the team's opening series of the season.

1978 Atlanta Braves season

The 1978 Atlanta Braves season was the 108th season for the franchise and their 13th in Atlanta.

1979 Atlanta Braves season

The 1979 Atlanta Braves season was the 109th season for the franchise and their 14th in Atlanta.


Capra may refer to:

Capra (genus), comprising the goats

Capra (goat dance), a Romanian custom

Capra (band), American musical group

Capra (titular see), a titular see in the Catholic Church

Capra (car), a pick-up brand from the Iranian Bahman Group

Don Gullett

Donald Edward Gullett (born January 6, 1951) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees from 1970 to 1978. He also served as pitching coach for the Cincinnati Reds from 1993 to 2005.

Illinois State Redbirds

The Illinois State Redbirds are the athletic teams that represent Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois. Teams play at the NCAA Division I level (FCS in football). The football team competes in the Missouri Valley Football Conference while most other teams compete in the Missouri Valley Conference. The fight song is Go, You Redbirds.

October 1

October 1 is the 274th day of the year (275th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 91 days remain until the end of the year.

It is the first day of the fourth quarter of the year.

Pedro Borbón

Pedro Borbón Rodriguez (December 2, 1946 – June 4, 2012) was a relief pitcher who played Major League Baseball for 12 seasons (1969–1980) with four teams, including 10 seasons for the Cincinnati Reds (1970–1979), playing on two World Series winning teams.

The Eddie Capra Mysteries

The Eddie Capra Mysteries is a 1978–1979 United States mystery television series starring Vincent Baggetta as a lawyer who investigates murders and has a knack for solving them. Original episodes aired from September 8, 1978, to January 12, 1979.

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