Shawn Boskie tried to describe his mindset during his major league debut in May 1990.
"Surprisingly, I was a lot more relaxed than I thought I would be," Boskie told The Chicago Tribune. "A lot of the players helped me out by telling me what it was like when they broke in."
What the relaxed Boskie delivered that day was nothing short of a gem. The rookie threw a complete-game, five-hitter, giving up just one earned run for the win - in his first major-league outing.
Boskie went on to a career where he pitched in nine big league seasons, playing for six big league teams.
Boskie made the majors four years after signing with the Cubs. Boskie signed having been taken in the first round of the January 1986 draft, out of Modesto Junior College.
He played that first year at rookie Wytheville, going 4-4 in 12 starts. He moved to single-A Peoria in 1987, then AA Charlotte in 1989. For 1990, Boskie started the year at AAA Iowa. By May, he was in Chicago.
After that initial complete-game win, Boskie went on to go 5-6, with a 3.69 ERA in 15 starts. By the end of June, Boskie was 2-4, with a 4.15 ERA. Boskie told The Tribune then he was in the majors for a reason.
"They brought me here to win," Boskie told The Tribune, the paper noting Boskie wasn't being cocky. "I wouldn't be here if they didn't think I could do the job."
Boskie came back in 1991 for 20 more starts, and eight relief appearances. Boskie, though, went 4-9 with a 5.23 ERA. In 1992, Boskie went 5-11, with a 5.01 ERA in 18 starts.
For 1993, Boskie moved to relief, getting 39 outings and his best ERA, 3.43. Boskie, though, had yet to play for a winner. In April 1994, sent to the Phillies in a trade, Boskie hoped he would play for a winner.
"The novelty of pitching in the big leagues has worn off," Boskie told The Philadelphia Inquirer after the trade. "At this point I'd like to play on a winning team. The Cubs have finished fourth every year I've been there, so it's nice to be going to a team with a chance to win."
Boskie, though, wouldn't play for a winner until 1995, with the Angels. That's when Boskie's 7-7 record helped the Angels to a 78-67 mark and a second-place finish in the AL West.
Boskie played for a winner again in 1997, helping the Orioles to the division win, going 6-6 in nine starts and 19 relief outings. By that July, Boskie was a reliever.
"It's strange," Boskie told The Baltimore Sun after the switch that July, "because you strive to be the best you can be, and as a starter you get the opportunity to do that every five days, going through an entire lineup. Yet, I've had more consistency being a reliever. I think I'm still a commodity that's going to help us win and go to the playoffs."
The Orioles made the playoffs, but Boskie didn't go with them thanks to a late-season injury and surgery.
Boskie played just one more season in the majors, just five starts in 1998 with Montreal. Boskie, though, didn't stop playing until 2001, playing out his career in the minors. Boskie spent his final season in 2001, pitching with the Diamondbacks at AAA Tucson.
- Chicago Tribune, May 21, 1990: Vet (Dawson), kid (Boskie) Carry Cubs To 3rd In Row
- Chicago Tribune, July 1, 1990: Boskie Proving He Belongs
- Philadelphia Inquirer, April 13, 1994: Phils Get A Pitcher From Cubs
- Baltimore Sun, July 29, 1997: New role OK with 'positive' Boskie
Made the Majors:1,168-36.0%
Never Made Majors:2,074-64.0%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 484
10+ Seasons in the Minors:284