"I intend to make the club," Budner told his hometown New London Day that offseason. "I've just got to make it."
From AAA, Budner hoped to make the majors. Budner never made either. He played just five seasons.
Budner did, however, go on to a long career helping others get to the bigs. He also became one of the minor league coaches coaches to see off future major league ace Felix Hermandez to the majors.
Budner's career in baseball began in 1977, taken by the Giants in the sixth round of the draft out of Eastern Connecticut State University.
With the Giants, Budner started at rookie Great Falls. He hit AA Waterbury in 1978. He then stayed at AA for the Giants through 1980. His final year playing came in 1981 in the Orioles system at AA Charlotte.
Budner then turned to coaching. By 1988, he was at Jacksonville University as pitching coach there. He then joined the Athletics system as pitching coach at high-A Modesto.
In 2006, Budner served as pitching coach at high-A Inland Empire. That August, Budner tried to help young hurler Aaron Jensen out of a rough stretch.
"His head has a tendency to get in the way," Budner told MiLB.com that August of Jensen. "He lost command, and it was just a bad time. But before and after, it's been good. And he's starting to get his confidence back. He's like a little bull in a china shop. You just have to keep him calm."
It was in 2004 that Budner served as Hernandez' coach at AA San Antonio. The young King had trouble controlling his emotions on the mound. Budner told The Seattle Post-Intelligencer Hernandez' emotions were just fine.
"The thing that's going to make him special is that he's (fiery) on the mound," Budner told The P-I. "He doesn't like to lose. He's a great competitor, and when things get tough, he gets tougher -- at 18 years old."
Budner is most recently credited as pitching coach at West Tennessee in 2008. He then switched careers to sports management, with West Coast Sports Management.
- New London Day, Dec. 18, 1978: Budner shoots for 'the Bigs'
- MiLB.com, Aug. 4, 2006: Faces on the Field
- Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 28, 2004: Mariners prospect Felix Hernandez 'untouchable'
Made the Majors: 761 - 49.0%
Never Made Majors: 792-51.0%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 330
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 197