Buzz Arlett (January 3, 1899 - May 16, 1964) was an American baseball player sometimes called "the Babe Ruth of the minor leagues." Like Ruth, Arlett was a large man (6'4" and 230 pounds (104 kg)) who began his career as a pitcher before becoming his league's dominant home-run hitter.
He was born in Elmhurst, California.
Arlett began his professional career in 1918, joining the Pacific Coast League's Oakland Oaks as a right-handed spitball pitcher. He won 99 games before becoming a full-time outfielder in 1923. As a batter, Arlett was the best slugger of the Pacific Coast League, often leading the league in batting statistics and setting several records.
In his 13 years in the PCL, Arlett set league records with 251 home runs and 1135 runs batted in. In 1929, his best season as a batter, Arlett hit 39 home runs, earned a .374 batting average and drove in 189 runs.
He played for the Oaks until the 1930 season.
On January 26, 1931, the Philadelphia Phillies bought Arlett's contract from Oakland. Arlett played the 1931 season for Philadelphia. It would be his only year in the major leagues. Already 32 years old, Arlett had an impressive season as a hitter but was regarded as a poor fielder. Although he earned a .313 batting average and hit 18 home runs - fourth in the National League - his lackluster fielding led the Phillies to use him as a pinch-hitter for much of the season.
In 1932, Philadelphia sold Arlett's contract to the Baltimore Orioles of the International League.
Playing for the Orioles in 1932, Arlett twice hit four home runs in a single game. On June 2, 1932, he hit home runs in consecutive at bats against the team from Reading, Pennsylvania. He repeated the feat on July 4, 1932, again against Reading, hitting a grand slam batting right-handed and three more home runs batting left-handed. He led the league that year with 54 home runs and 144 runs batted in. He led the league again in 1933 with 39 home runs. Arlett's record of 54 home runs in 1932 is the second-highest annual total in International League history, and through the 2003 season no International League batter has equalled or surpassed Arlett's 54 home runs.
In 1934, Arlett moved to the Minneapolis Millers of the American Association. He hit 41 home runs that year with 132 runs batted in and earned a .319 batting average. He raised his batting average to .360 in 1935, hitting 25 home runs and driving in 101 runs. Arlett retired after the 1937 season and settled in Minneapolis.
In his career as a minor-league player, Arlett earned a .341 batting average and a .604 slugging percentage. His career totals of 432 home runs and 1786 runs batted in both rank second among all minor-league players. Arlett retired with a 108-93 record and a 3.42 earned-run average as a minor-league pitcher.
He died in Minneapolis and was interred there at Lakewood Cemetery.
In 1984, the Society for American Baseball Research voted Arlett the most outstanding player in the history of minor-league baseball.