Dave Boswell a right-handed pitcher who won 20 games for the Twins in 1969 passed away from a heart attack yesterday at the age of 67. Born in Baltimore, Maryland on January 20, 1945, Boswell signed with the Minnesota Twins as an amateur free agent pitcher/outfielder in 1963 after finishing his high school career with a 28-2 record. The New York Yankees offered Boswell the same deal at the Twins did and Boswell wanted to pitch for the Yankees but the Yankees had a very strong pitching staff and Dave and his family decided that Minnesota would offer him his best opportunity.
Boswell started his professional career in 1964 in A ball with Bismarck/Mandan in the Northern League and after going 7-11 with a 3.88 ERA he was moved up to AA Charlotte where he went 4-2 with a 2.85 ERA. The Minnesota Twins called Boswell to the big leagues in September and Dave made his major league debut on September 18 at the age of just 19 against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Boswell did not get a decision that day but his big league career was well on its way. Boswell made the Twins ballclub out of spring training in 1965 and after a few games in long relief, he entered the starting rotation and by the end of May, Boswell had a 2.12 ERA, in 34 innings. Boswell would have remained in the starting rotation, but he came down with mononucleosis and missed about a quarter of the season. When he returned, the Twins moved Boswell to the bullpen where he finished the 1965 pennant winning season. With the Twins only using 3 starters in the 1965 World Series, Boswell made one appearance in the 1965 World Series pitching in relief of Jim Kaat in-game 5. Boswell was in the starting rotation between 1966-1968 and won 36 games. But in 1969 Boswell had a career season going 20-12 with a 3.23 ERA while pitching 256.1 innings. Boswell started game 2 of the 1969 ALCS against the Baltimore Orioles and pitched 10.2 scoreless innings but came away as the losing pitcher when reliever Ron Perranoski game up single to Curt Motton and Boog Powell whom Boswell had walked to lead off the inning scored the only run in the ball game and the Orioles were 1-0 winners. Boswell hurt his arm striking out Frank Robinson to end the 10th inning and according to Boswell that was the reason he walked Powell to lead off the 11th inning. That arm injury was the beginning of the end for Dave Boswell and his big league career. In 1970 Boswell tried pitching through his injury but went 3-7 with a 6.42 ERA and on July 29 Boswell pitched in his last Twins game, a start against the Cleveland Indians that lasted just 2.1 innings when he gave up 7 walks and 3 hits. The Twins released Boswell in April 1971 and he hooked with the Detroit Tigers but he only pitched in 3 games there before being released in late May. Boswell then signed with the Baltimore Orioles and finished the 1971 season there. Baltimore released Boswell before the 1972 season and amazingly at the young age of 27, Boswell’s big league career was finished.
Although Boswell won 20 games in 1969, he is probably better remembered for a fight that he had with Twins manager Billy Martin at the Lindall A.C. in Detroit. There are a lot of different stories circulating about that fight and we won’t go into them here.
Dave Boswell’s career lasted 8 years and he had a 68-56 record and an ERA of 3.52 and a 1.26 WHIP. Bos struck out 882 batters in his 1,065.1 innings and he gave up only 858 hits. Boswell always gave up fewer hits than innings pitched until he suffered his arm injury late in 1969. Boswell loved playing baseball and he was a good hitter too. Dave hit 4 home runs and knocked in 22 while batting .202 during his career and was used by the Twins as a pinch runner many, many times in his tenure in Minnesota.
Dave Boswell was one of baseball’s real characters and he played baseball the way he lived his life, non stop. Dave Boswell participated in the Twins Fantasy Camps for a number of years and had some health issues for the last year or so. The Minnesota Twins and their fans lost one of their “good ones” yesterday. Thank you for the great memories Dave, we won’t forget you.
I did an interview with Dave a few years back and you can see that Q&A by click here.
A beautiful YouTube tribute to Dave Boswell can be viewed here.