Former big league pitcher Dave Boswell died of a heart attack yesterday. He was 67.
Boswell pitched in the majors for eight seasons debuting at the age of 19 with the Minnesota Twins in 1964. The following year he would pitch in the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Boswell pitched two and two thirds innings of relief in Game 5 on the wrong end of a 7-0 loss to Sandy Koufax. His best season came in 1969 when he won 20 games for the AL West Division Champion Twins. However, Boswell is best remembered for getting into a fight that season with teammate Bob Allison outside a bar in Detroit. Twins manager Billy Martin intervened on Allison’s behalf and beat Boswell into a bloody pulp. Boswell was never the same after the fight and was done by the age of 26 splitting the 1971 season with the Detroit Tigers and his hometown Baltimore Orioles.
However, Boswell made a lasting impression on at least one fan during his brief stint with the O’s.
UPDATE I: Unbeknownst to me, our own Quin Hillyer was briefly under Boswell’s tutelage at Georgetown. I did not know Quin was an aspiring ballplayer. It is a small world indeed.
UPDATE II: There is some dispute as to whether the fight was initially between Boswell and Allison with Martin trying to break it up or if it was between Boswell and Martin with Allison trying to break it up. Now I realize peacemaker is not the first word that comes to mind when you think of Billy Martin. On the other hand, it isn’t implausible that he tried to break up a fight between his ace starting pitcher and a star outfielder. However it started it ended up with Billy beating Boswell.
In fairness to Boswell, he did win 8 of his final 11 decisions of the ’69 season. He apparently hurt his arm after pitching 10 innings against Dave McNally in Game 2 of the 1969 ALCS.