Sunday, September 22, 2013

Card of Week: 1976 Topps Lyman Bostock

Tonight at 10 pm EST, MLB network will be airing a half hour special, "The Lyman Bostock Story".

1976 Topps
If you don't know of Lyman Bostock, let me fill you in some.  He was a rookie outfielder with the Minnesota Twins in 1975.  The Twins lineup had already consisted of Rod Carew and Tony Oliva, who each had won multiple batting titles.  The same was predicted of Bostock by many in baseball. 
He spent three seasons in Minnesota, finishing in the top five in batting once, before becoming one of baseball's first big free agents.  After considering offers from several teams including a bigger one from New York Yankees, Bostock decided on a team closer to home-California Angels.
His first month as an Angel was quite poor.  In trying to live up to his lucrative deal, Bostock struggled at the plate.  He finished with a .147 average by the end of April.  Bostock felt so bad about his lack of performance, he went to Angels owner Gene Autry and told him he wanted to give his whole first month salary back to Autry, but was refused.  So, Bostock decided to donate the entire month's salary to charity.
By the time September came around, Bostock produced well enough to raise his batting average into the .290s.  During a series in Chicago later in September, Bostock went to take a trip after a day game to nearby Gary, Indiana to visit some family members.  During the stay, Bostock and friends decided to go visit an old friend.  A lady, who Bostock just met a few hours before, was with his group. She asked if she could get a ride to a nearby destination.  Bostock, always willing to help, agreed.
As they pulled up to a red light, the lady's husband who thought she was cheating on him with Bostock, pulled up next to them and fired a shot in the car.   The one gunshot killed the baseball star.
The news broke nationally the next day. Baseball lost one of it's budding stars, teammates lost a friend, a mother lost his son and a wife, a husband at the age of 27.   Bostock had a terrible misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  What is most disheartening is that the killer plead insanity at the trial.  He spent six months in a mental hospital and then became a free man for the rest of his life.

Monday marks the 35th anniversary of this tragic event.  For the MLB network special, former players and coaches will discuss Bostock and his wife will talk about the day of the murder and her husband for the first time publicly. 

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