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Lyman Bostock

From Academic Kids

Lyman Wesley Bostock Jr. (November 22, 1950 - September 23, 1978) was a baseball player in Major League Baseball for the Minnesota Twins (1975-77) and California Angels (1978). He batted left-handed and threw right-handed.

A fine center fielder, Bostock finished fourth in the tight American League batting race in 1976, his first full season in the majors. After finishing second in the league in batting in 1977, Bostock became one of baseball's earliest big-money free agents, signing with the California Angels, owned by Gene Autry. Bostock almost immediately donated $10,000 of his newfound wealth to a church in his native Birmingham, Alabama to rebuild its Sunday school.

Bostock's 1978 season started off a disaster, with him batting only .150 for the month of April. Bostock went to Autry and attempted to give back his April salary, saying he hadn't earned it. Autry refused, so Bostock announced he would be donating his April salary to charity. Thousands of requests came in for the money, and Bostock went through each of them, trying to determine who needed it the most.

Bostock worked the rest of the season to get his batting average up over .300. On Sept. 23, 1978, with his batting average sitting at .296 after a game with the Chicago White Sox, Bostock visited his uncle in Gary, Indiana. While he was sitting in the back seat of his uncle's car at a stoplight, a man walked up to the car and fired a shotgun blast through the side window that caught Bostock fully on the side of the face, killing him instantly. He was 28.

By some accounts, the gunman, Leonard Smith, was aiming for the woman sitting next to Bostock in the car, and by other accounts, it was a case of mistaken identity. Tried for murder, Smith was eventually found not guilty by reason of insanity. Though Smith was jailed awaiting and during his trial and confined for psychiatric treatment afterward, he was soon deemed no longer mentally ill by his psychiatrists, and Smith's total time in custody ultimately amounted to only 21 months. Leonard Smith was released from Logansport State Hospital and returned home a completely free man less than two years after having taken Lyman Bostock's life in cold blood.

In a four-season career, Bostock was a .311 hitter with 23 home runs and 250 RBI in 526 games. He is interred in the Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, California.

Highlights

  • Collected 12 putouts in the second game of a doubleheader, tying the major league mark, as the Twins swept the Red Sox, 135 and 9-4. Bostock became only the third big leaguer to do it in a nine-inning game and just the second center fielder in the XX century. His 17 putouts in the doubleheader also set a record in the American League that still today (May 25, 1977).
  • His .336 average in 1977 was only second to Carew's .388.

External link

  • Lyman Bostock's career statistics at Baseball-Reference.com (http://www.baseball-reference.com/b/bostoly01.shtml)
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