Twins Pitcher Dave Boswell Remembered

Check out the awesome custom cards shared by
Jim the “auto guy” at Who
wouldn’t autograph such a beauty?

I was blessed to get a surprising reply from underrated Twins hurler Dave Boswell in 2011. He died June 11 at age 67.

I hoped to find a tribute to him that didn’t dwell on the fight with manager Billy Martin. Here’s the best one I spotted, complete with great memories from roommate Frank Quilici.

A tip? Ask about roommates in future letters to retirees. They’re a fading part of major league lore.

And be grateful for any autographs you received from Boswell in the last two years. He battled illness, but did his best with fan mail. He didn’t forget us. We won’t forget him.

Coming Wednesday: Ripped from the headlines…an Atlanta Braves autograph faker!

Twins Pitcher Dave Boswell A Yankee?!?

Today’s Boswell’s
autograph is tighter.

Minnesota Twins pitcher Dave Boswell could have been neither.

I asked him about joining the Twins, as well as his success at bat. He added a couple of startling tidbits concerning what might have been.

First, I asked how owner Calvin Griffith was upon signing his first contract.

“Tom, tell you what — I got $15,000 and a new car. It wasn’t that hard getting it from Mr. Griffith.

Had the same offer from the Yankees.”

I pointed out that the designated hitter rule wasn’t suited for pitchers like Boswell. He had 74 career hits, four of them home runs! He replied:

“I signed as a pitcher and outfielder. Loved to play every day.”

One explanation for Boswell’s mound success, four straight years of double-digit wins (culminating in a 20-win season in 1969) could be Minnesota pitching coach Johnny Sain. How did Sain help?

“John was great at explaining situations to you. All of a sudden, you would find yourself in that position and you knew what to do.”

Twins fans, send your thanks to this might-have-been Yankees outfielder now. My reply ended with…

“Been very ill lately. Sorry it took so long.

Dave Boswell”

Coming Thursday: My “10 Most Wanted List” — Phillies Edition.


Twins Pitcher Ray Corbin Remembers

Same autograph,
decades later!

How about baseball writers sending a little love Ray Corbin’s way? Sure, it happened nearly 40 years ago. Better late than never.

Out come the adjectives for any 2011 complete-game pitcher. Two straight CG’s? Are you serious?!?

In 1972, Corbin did more than earn three straight complete games. He compiled a 27.1 scoreless innings streak.

Did the media thrill over every pitch? I could almost hear the sigh come from Corbin as he wrote…

“Very little response since in those days shutouts and complete games were much more common than today. Not uncommon for the leader in shutouts to be in double figures.”

Again, Corbin reeled off another career high in 1975, striking out nine White Sox. He noted:

“I wasn’t a big strikeout pitcher and was unaware that career high in K’s came in my final season. With Nolan Ryan setting K records, I’m sure mine were unnoticed.

Don’t confuse Corbin’s humility with a lack of confidence. Check out what 1971 spring training was like:

“I had a great spring and knew I had a chance to make the team after (Dave) Boswell and (Luis) Tiant were released.”

Coming Wednesday: Former outfielder Glenn Wilson returns…with a book!

Yankee Slugger Tom Shopay Owns Souvenir, Courtesy of Fast-Acting Teammate Jim Bouton

Kudos to Jay Grossman and
for preserving this sad
specimen of hobby history:

Time to create a new statistic. Jim Bouton gets the first “historical” assist. Okay…save one for Tom House in the Atlanta bullpen when Hank Aaron set homer history (but that’s another story).

Tom Shopay began his baseball life as a New York Yankee. On Sept. 23, 1967, Shopay collected his first-ever home run, off Minnesota’s Dave Boswell at Metropolitan Stadium. Meanwhile, Bouton collected the artifact, negotiating with partisan Twins rooters. I’m guessing that the famous author-to-be served as a horse-trading Santa Claus for more than one rookie in his pitching career.

As Shopay saw it:

“The pitch was a fastball on the inner half of the plate. Jim Bouton traded a fan a couple of new balls for my ball. He was in the bullpen.”

(Thanks to for the details!)

Shopay was a Rule 5 draft acquisition by the Orioles, ending his brief time in pinstripes. I asked him to compare the media attention he observed with each team.

“At the time I played, it seemed that you had more newspaper coverage. But New York is New York. The sports writers were always around, and plenty of them.

Baltimore was always doing a lot of radio and TV interviews. They also had the same beat writers that were with you all the time. They were good human beings, too.”

Tomorrow: Words of wisdom from Baltimore manager Earl Weaver.

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