CEDAR RAPIDS — Don Buchheister was a member of the board of directors when it came time to hire a general manager for the Cedar Rapids professional baseball club in 1970.
This person was discussed for the job, that person was discussed. A local realtor at the time, the man known as “Bucky” loved the game, had played it virtually his entire life and suddenly came to a conclusion.
He wanted the job. Which he received, serving as GM for 18 years.
Buchheister passed away earlier this month in Pennsylvania at the age of 87.
“He kept us alive as a ballclub, for one thing,” said longtime Cedar Rapids Ball Club, Inc., board of directors member Pinky Primrose. “We only had a one-man staff from September through February. That was Bucky. He did everything ... He did a whale of a job for what he was working with. His wife, Bea, was secretary almost. It was a small staff, but we did pretty well, I thought.”
Buchheister was inducted into the Cedar Rapids Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006, the same year as Primrose. According to his obituary, he was named Executive of the Year in 1976 by The Sporting News and Midwest League Executive of the Year by the National Association of Professional Baseball.
His work allowed Cedar Rapids to become one of the model franchises in the Midwest League, consistently toward the top of the league in yearly attendance.
Bucky graduated from Franklin High School and had signed a pro contract in 1949 before an injury ended his dreams of being a major leaguer. He continued to play in the local M&J League.
Buchheister is survived by his wife, four children, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. The family will hold an informal meet and greet in his honor from 6 to 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 9, at the Flamingo Restaurant in Cedar Rapids.
l Comments: (319) 398-8259; firstname.lastname@example.org