Swapping Stories: The **** Bosman Trade of 1973
May 10, 1973: Texas trades righthander **** Bosman and outfielder Ted Ford to Cleveland for righthander Steve Dunning.
The playing career of **** Bosman lasted only a short time with the Texas Rangers, but there may be no man involved in as much history with the club who has gotten less recognition.
Bosman was the established ace of the Washington Senators rotation when, at age 28, he assumed that role with the new Rangers franchise in 1972. He pitched for Texas for only a year and a month, more than 20 years before he would make his greatest mark with the organization. Bosman went a respectable 8-10, 3.63 for the 54-100 Rangers in 1972 and was 2-5, 4.24 in seven starts the next year when, on May 10, 1973, he was shipped to Cleveland with outfielder Ted Ford in exchange for young righthander Steve Dunning.
In 1969, Bosman’s second full season in the Major Leagues, he had gone 14-5, 2.19 for the Senators, leading the American League in ERA. In 1970, he won 16 games, the most for a Senators pitcher since 1959.
Bosman’s most notable 1971 effort came on September 30, when he started and lasted five innings the Senators’ last-ever game, a contest with the Yankees that Washington led, 7-5, in the top of the ninth. Reliever Joe Grzenda came on to close things out, retiring pinch-hitter Felipe Alou on a comebacker, when Senators fans swarmed the field. Once order was restored, Grzenda forced a second comebacker, off the bat of Bobby Murcer. An out away from the exodus of the franchise, the home fans once again poured onto the field, this time grabbing the bases and home plate, stripping the RFK Stadium scoreboard, and tearing out chunks of sod from the field. Umpires called a forfeit, stripping the Senators of a victory they were an out away from recording.
It was the last forfeit in the Major Leagues until June 4, 1974, when Cleveland forfeited a home game against Texas on “Ten-Cent Beer Night.”
Bosman pitched in relief for the Indians that night.
But between the two forfeits, Bosman spent a season and a month with Texas, starting the opener for the Rangers in each of the franchise’s first two years of existence. Bosman took the hill in the club’s first-ever game, pitching into the ninth inning of a scoreless tilt in Anaheim on April 15, 1972, but he was chased after a walk, an error by catcher Hal King, and another walk, suffering the loss when lefthander Paul Lindblad came in and promptly uncorked a game-ending wild pitch.
Six days later, Bosman got the nod in the Rangers’ first home game, not pitching nearly as well as he had in the season opener but notching his first Texas win, as he gave up four California runs in 5.1 innings of a 7-6 Rangers victory. Immediately after Lindblad recorded the final out, Bosman dashed to the curb outside Arlington Stadium, where his wife Pamela had parked their car. Bosman hopped in, and accompanied by a police escort the former drag racer rushed Pamela to a Fort Worth hospital, where the couple’s first child, Michelle, was born hours later.
Bosman ended up leading the 1972 Rangers in starts (29) and innings pitched (173.1), and he was once again bestowed the honor of starting the season opener in 1973, taking the loss as Texas fell to the Chicago White Sox, 6-1. Bosman would make just six more starts for the Rangers before being traded on May 10 to the Indians, along with Ford (who had led Texas with 14 home runs in 1972 but failed to make the club in 1973), for Dunning, who had been the second pick in the entire Major League draft just three years earlier after a standout career at Stanford.
Dunning’s stint with Texas was less than illustrious. He would go 2-6, 5.34 in 12 starts and 11 relief appearances in 1973, prompting Rangers manager Whitey Herzog at one point to issue an unusually blunt comment about the impact of the trade: “[Bosman] hasn’t done much for Cleveland. And Steve hasn’t looked too good for us.” Dunning would make one Rangers appearance in 1974. It would be his last with the club.
Herzog was absolutely right about Bosman as far as the 1973 season was concerned, as he posted a 1-8, 6.22 mark for the Tribe, going winless until mid-July and pitching himself out of the Indians rotation by late August.
Bosman worked mostly in long relief at the start of the 1974 season, but Cleveland manager Ken Aspromonte shifted Bosman back into the rotation in July, and the move paid off. On July 19, Bosman was an errant throw – his own – short of throwing a perfect game in a 4-0 defeat of Oakland. With two outs in the top of the fourth, Bosman fielded a ground ball off the bat of Sal Bando, but threw wildly, allowing Bando to reach second base. It was the only baserunner the Athletics managed all night as Bosman recorded a no-hitter.
Six weeks later, Bosman was back on the mound in Arlington when his former teammate, Rangers second baseman Dave Nelson, led off the bottom of the first by drawing a walk, after which he stole second, stole third, and stole home, becoming the second player to achieve that feat since 1941.
Bosman split the 1975 season between Cleveland and Oakland, retiring after a final year with the A’s in 1976. He then embarked on a coaching career that began at Georgetown University and led to a pitching coach gig with the White Sox in 1986-87. Bosman served as a minor league pitching instructor for Baltimore from 1988 through 1991, before Orioles manager Johnny Oates made him his big league pitching coach from 1992 through 1994.
In November of 1994, two weeks after Oates was hired to manage the Rangers, Oates brought Bosman over to be his pitching coach. Bosman would serve in that role until the 2000 season, notable of course from the standpoint that he coached the pitching staffs of the only three Rangers clubs ever to reach the post-season. He has since caught on with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays organization, serving in various coaching capacities in that club’s farm system.
When it comes to a discussion of the key figures in Texas Rangers lore, **** Bosman’s name isn’t mentioned nearly enough. While Bosman’s legacy with the Rangers is headlined by his role coaching pitchers on the club’s first three playoff teams, those weren’t the only firsts that he can claim as far as the history of the franchise is concerned.
Jamey Newberg is a contributor to MLB.com. A Dallas lawyer, he has been an insane Texas Rangers fan since the days of scheduled doubleheaders, Bat Nights when they actually handed out a piece of lumber instead of a grocery store voucher, and Jim Umbarger. He has covered the Texas Rangers, from the big club down through the entire farm system, since 1998 on his website, NewbergReport.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.