Senator Carl Bouldin Vetoed Pro Basketball

Posted February 23rd, 2011 by Tom Owens and filed in Carl Bouldin, Tommy John, Washington Senators
How Does It Feel To
Be a Floating Head?
Plus, How Do You
NOT Autograph Your Face?

Carl Bouldin just wanted to play. Play what, though?

Bouldin started for the University of Cincinnati Wildcats basketball team. After the 1961 National Championship, he surprised hoops fans by choosing baseball. He advanced to the majors quickly. The glory was short-lived, enduring consecutive cellar-dwelling seasons for the Washington Senators.

Why?

“I had offers to play basketball for three teams in the following three years, but I just thought my chances of a longer career was in baseball. It turned out to be not so long though, because I hurt my arm (rotator cuff) in winter ball in Puerto Rico. I was on the same team with Tommy John there.”

Did Bouldin get a taste of quaint Griffith Stadium? He recalled:

“When I was called up in 1961, I went to Griffith Stadium. I didn’t pitch there, because they moved to D.C. Stadium shortly after I got there. The stadium was cool. But my memories of the players that I had read about are/were more clear.”

Just across the river from Cincy, boyhood home of the hurler, the Kentucky Baseball blog had some nice things to remember about Bouldin.

Tomorrow: Bouldin reveals his best game ever.

Senator Del Unser Talks Triples

Posted January 13th, 2011 by Tom Owens and filed in Al Unser, Del Unser, Washington Senators
He still has
the sweeping “D”

Del Unser is one forgiving guy.

I regretted a question as soon as it dropped in the mailbox. At the time, I wished I was Fred Flintstone, able to stuff Barney Rubble in the box to retrieve the questionable question. (Remember that episode?!?)

Back to baseball: I learned that Washington Senator Del Unser led the American League with eight triples in 1969. However, that was the lowest-ever league best. His high was a record low. I asked why he thought there weren’t more three-base hits that year.

 I imagined a “What? Have you ever led the American League, or even your Little League, in triples?!?” Thankfully, Unser did reply, offering some thoughtful insights.

Regarding the dearth of three-baggers that season, Unser reminded:

“There was only one .300 hitter that year…the year of the pitcher.”

I asked about his dad, catcher Al Unser, who served with the Tigers and Reds in 1942-45.

“He never coached much — always on the road. He told me to always hustle if you put that uniform on.”

Tomorrow: Del Unser relives three consecutive pinch-hit home runs from 1979.

Dick Bosman Tells of 1974 No-Hitter Rewards

Posted January 7th, 2011 by Tom Owens and filed in Dick Bosman, Washington Senators
Same Signature,
Same intensity!

Dick Bosman spent most of his career toiling for struggling teams.

Nevertheless, he gave the Senators many thrills, including a pair of one-hitters in 1969-70. History didn’t find the hurler until 1974. (Thanks, www.retrosheet.org.) His July 19 gem against the mighty Oakland Athletics wasn’t forgotten. The Cleveland hurler was acquired by the A’s that next season.

When did Bosman’s mind switch from “good game” to “possibly making history?” How did the Indians honor his accomplishment? He replied:

“Fifth inning.

$1,500 raise and engraved pocket watch.”

Beginning in Washington, Bosman had the opportunity to pitch for manager Ted Williams. What did he learn from Williams that influenced him as a player, and later, as a coach?

“The mental game of pitching.”

Williams witnessed Bosman’s transformation, including a league-leading 2.19 ERA in 1969. How did he feel about winning an ERA crown?

“It was my first good year. It gave me a lot of confidence.”

Tomorrow: Dick Bosman sums up nearly five decades in pro ball.