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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dick Bosman, Never Tired

This post concerns Dick Bosman's playing career. For his coaching career, click here: Dick Bosman, More Mileage
When Senators manager Ted Williams came to get starter Dick Bosman that day, Bosman didn't argue. In fact, he'd taken the unusual step of telling the manager between innings he was tired.

"Some guys rant and rave when you think they're tired and they should come out," Williams told reporters after the game. "You'd think they were 40-game winners or something."

"Those guys will say 'Geez, I feel great' - then it's boom, boom, boom and you lose.," Williams said, adding, "Bosman will win 17 or 18 games."

Bosman didn't win 17 or 18, but he did win 16 that year. He was in his prime, posting an ERA of 3.00 that year. The previous year he was even better, going 14-5 with a league-leading 2.19 ERA.

But his best was yet to come. In one game in 1974, Bosman never got tired. He went the distance, posting a no-hitter that was one throw away from perfection - his own throw.

Bosman's career began in 1963, signed by the Pirates as a free agent. He joined the Senators system for 1965, taken in the minor league draft. He made his debut in Washington in 1966, getting his first victory in his first start. He would stay in Washington through the end of the Senators' stay in 1971.

He arrived in Cleveland, where he would eventually fire his near-perfection, in 1973. But, before that, Bosman would flash that control back in in August 1970, firing a one-hitter against the Twins.

The one-hitter came less than two weeks after Williams removed him from that game with the Tigers. On Aug. 13, 1970, Bosman gave up a single hit, and no more. The hit came to the leadoff hitter, it was a bunt.

His success that year had some managers questioning his methods, including suggesting he was doctoring the ball, according to UPI. But Bosman dismissed the notion. "They were just trying to harass me," Bosman told UPI.

Bosman had reached these heights of throwing fast balls from a former life of driving fast cars. Bosman used to race cars 215 mph back home in Wisconsin. But he'd given that up. It was too dangerous. "You can't just play ball then jump into a car and win a race," Bosman told the AP.

Bosman stayed with the franchise through its move to Texas for 1972. In May 1973, Bosman was shipped to Cleveland in a three-player deal. Bosman was optimistic, "I'm in as good a shape as I ever have been in my career," he told the AP. "I am sure my peak is still ahead of me."

By July 1974, that peak seemed long past. He went a total of 3-13 in 1973 with a 5.64 ERA. In early 1974, Bosman was no longer a starter. But he got the start July 19. And Bosman went out and threw his no-hitter. The only base-runner came in the fourth, when Bosman overthrew first for an error.

His own error blowing the perfect game aside, Bosman was content with the result. "This has got to be the biggest thrill of my life," Bosman told the Associated Press.

But Bosman only had two seasons left. Traded to Oakland in May 1975, Bosman found his old control, going 11-4 on the year with a 3.52 ERA. He made another 27 appearances in 1976 and his career was over. He returned for spring training 1977, but was released before the season started.

Five years later, in 1982, Bosman spoke of still wanting to be on the mound.

"I keep thinking I ought to be there," Bosman told The Washington Post, adding later, "A lot of guys think it'll never end. "How realistic is that? A game influenced by the body! You could throw a curveball and blow an elbow out. And nobody's going to wait two or three years until that arm comes back."

Bosman was then working for a car dealership in Virginia, and serving as pitching coach for Georgetown University on the side, The Post wrote. But his days in professional baseball were not over.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I am a HUGE fan of Dick Bosman. I have got to know him over the years, originally as a customer (buying speed parts for his cars) but then as a legendary player and a pitching coach. The Rays have been lucky to have him as a part of their developmental crew. He is a great teacher, judge of talent and a good interview. He talks straight and knows his stuff. I have never asked him if he was mad at the guy who ruined his perfect game though... Keep up the good work!