Dave Boswell, who went 20-12 with the Minnesota Twins in 1969, died Monday night of a heart attack in his home near Baltimore.
Boswell, a 6'3" right-handed pitcher, reached the majors in 1965, when he was only 19. In 1969, Billy Martin took over as Twins manager. Not coincidentally, that season would be Boswell's best, and most controversial.
That was the season in which Boswell went 20-12 with a 3.23 ERA. Those 20 wins were a career high; so were Boswell's 256 innings. That fall in the American League Championship Series, Boswell started Game 2 against the heavily favored Orioles. He traded zeroes with Baltimore's Dave McNally until the 11th; removed from the contest with two outs and two Orioles on base in the bottom of the inning, Boswell took a 1-0 loss when Curt Motton singled off reliever Ron Perranoski to knock in the winning run.
According to Billy Martin, he and Boswell were close. The young pitcher might have been a bit of a problem child, but then so was Billy Martin. Also,
Bozzy could pitch, and he was a great competitor, so that other stuff didn't bother me that much. Part of his problem was that he was pitching in a lot of pain. He had bone chips, and his elbow just kept getting bigger and bigger as the season went on, and sometimes the pain got so bad that he was taking pills for it. I don't like to see any players take pills. I would check the lockers to make sure they didn't do it, but one way or another they'll get them if they want them bad enough, and how I'll never know, so it's really a waste of time to try and stop them. So Davey was taking these pain pills, and sometimes he'd drink, too, and the combination was very bad, and that was what he had in him the day of the fight.
Ah, the fight.
In early August, Billy Martin beat the hell out of Dave Boswell. Both were probably drunk. Martin would later explain that he didn't have any choice, but of course that's what Martin said about all his fights. The fisticuffs didn't play real well in the press or in the owner's suite, but one source does say that when Boswell recorded his 20th win, the first thing he did was kiss Billy Martin on the forehead.
All those bone chips and all those innings might have taken their toll, though. According to one account, Boswell actually hurt his arm in the 10th inning of that ALCS game. In 1970 -- with Martin having been fired, by the way -- Boswell managed only 69 innings, with a ghastly 6.42 ERA. He would manage only 69 innings in 1971, in stints with the Tigers and Orioles, and then was finished at 26.