Dave Boswell, who won 20 games as a 24-year-old in 1969 and pitched eight seasons in the majors for the Twins, Tigers, and Orioles, has passed away at age 67.
Boswell’s former teammate, Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven, tweeted the sad news last night.
Boswell debuted with the Twins as a 19-year-old in 1964 and posted a sub-3.50 ERA in each of his first five full seasons. That run culminated in 20 wins and a 3.23 ERA in 256 innings in 1969 as the Twins won the division title, but Boswell was never the same after throwing 10.2 innings in a postseason start versus the Orioles.
He’d gone 64-47 with a 3.28 ERA in 968 innings through age 24, but logged a total of 98 innings with a 5.90 ERA from age 25 on and threw his last big-league pitch as a 26-year-old in 1971.
Blyleven is the only player in Twins history to start more games, log more innings, strike out more batters, or record more wins than Boswell through age 24. And despite the premature end to Boswell’s very promising career I ranked him as the 36th-best player in Minnesota Twins history.
On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”
There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.
It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:
On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.
“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”
One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.
None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”