Senator Carl Bouldin Vetoed Pro Basketball

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

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

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.

Tormenting Senators Manager Ted Williams

(Courtesy Dave Baldwin, http://www.snakejazz.com/)

Dave Baldwin only looked like a typical baseball player.

In his delightful memoir Snake Jazz, he includes the confessional chapter “Tormenting Ted.” When Ted Williams took over the Senators in 1969, he claimed that his clueless pitchers couldn’t even explain why a curveball curves.

The hurler from the University of Arizona responded with a short speech on the science behind an off-speed pitch. Upon realizing that this wasn’t a classroom discussion but a rhetorical challenge, Baldwin braced himself for Williams to come unglued. Instead, he won the skipper’s grudging admiration.

Knowing this, I asked Baldwin how he felt about the diverse education of his teammates.Baldwin’s first full year in Washington was highlighted by 58 appearances. He geared up  for a 162-game schedule, however.

“About the 1967 Washington bullpen, we had five “go to” guys — Darold Knowles, Casey Cox, Dick Lines, Bob Humphreys and me (a photo of us is in the Photo Gallery at www.snakejazz.com). I was up and throwing nearly every game whether I appeared or not. But then, living in Tucson, I had thrown nearly every day since I was a kid.”

“Regarding teammates with an academic background, I found other college-educated players on all of the teams I played on. Relating to teammates, educated or not was never a problem for me — we all had one interest in common — baseball — and that was enough.”

Why Did Senators Catcher Steve Korcheck Choose Baseball Over San Francisco 49ers?

Same Artful Autograph!

College football star Steve “Hoss” Korcheck turned down the San Francisco 49ers for baseball. He wound up as a backup catcher for the 1950s Washington Senators. How did he choose his career? This mountain of a man offered a kind, thoughtful reply to my letter:

“I thought that I would have a longer career in baseball. Also looked at the long-term health of each sport, injury-wise and long-term effects.”

Remarkably, he remembers his days in baseball in relatively-painless terms, writing:

“Two collisions that stand out — one with Jackie Brandt of the Baltimore Orioles and one with Hank Bauer of the New York Yankees. Pretty much injury free — a few broken fingers.”

Korcheck, who praised the artistry of batterymates Jim Kaat, Pedro Ramos and Camilio Pascual during his tenure in D.C., reflected on his playing days and unique ties to this year’s post-season rosters.

“Enjoyed my time in baseball. Enjoyed the atmosphere and the many friends that I made. Roomed with Ed Yost, whom I am in contact. My best friend became Jim Lemon, who passed away a few years ago.


After baseball, went back to school and obtained my doctorate degree in education. Taught and coach baseball for many years. Coached Ron Washington, manager of Texas Rangers and Sam Perlozzo, 3rd base coach of the Phillies.


Finished my educational career serving as president of Manatee Community College (now State College of Florida) for 17 years (1980-97).


Good luck and God bless,


Steve Korcheck”

JUST “a few broken fingers?” That’s one huge optimist!

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