Remembering Boswell's Last Fling
By Phil Jackman
You have never seen a guy so happy to strip down and put on an Oriole uniform as Dave Boswell was that day in late May of 1971. He was a well-established pitcher, with 56 wins during four seasons beginning in 1966 in Minnesota, but injuries and illness had prevented him from charging ahead from his 20-win season in 1969.
Boz, who died last week at his home in Joppa at age 67, realized he was on trial with the Orioles that day, but he was confident.
"The club might need a spot starter, and I love pitching here [at Memorial Stadium]," he said, recalling his high school days at Calvert Hall, when he had an opportunity to pitch on 33rd Street two or three times.
Then there was the time during the second game of the first American League Championship Series, when both he and Dave McNally pitched 10 shutout innings.
"I probably should have won that game," he said, before being reminded McNally held the heavy-hitting Twins to just three hits during 11 innings.
"I guess I forgot that," he said.
Between Baltimore and Rochester, Boswell won four and lost two. As for his hopes to pick up some work as a starter with the O's, there was no work to be had. While 20-game winners McNally, Jim Palmer, Mike Cuellar and Pat Dobson combined for 81 wins, they started 142 games and turned in 70 complete games. Aside from a Boswell start in Cleveland, Grant Jackson (nine) and Dave Leonhard (six) were the only other guys to start games.
Later, when released by the Orioles, Boz said: "I'm glad I tried, even though I was pretty well shot. Ever since I was little kid, the Orioles were my team."
When the Los Angeles Kings came into existence, they were one of six expansion franchises joining the old-guard NHL teams, and the late mogul Jack Kent Cooke was the owner. Cooke, a Canadian who loved hockey, needed a co-tenant for his basketball Lakers in a Taj Mahal arena he planned to build.
The Kings were successful right from the start, going 31-33-10 that first year, which was terrific for an expansion team. The "Fabulous Forum" soon joined the L.A. skyline and everything was peachy, save for one fact. The Kings didn't draw well, which was perplexing because the L.A. basin is awash in transplanted Canadians.
In a fit of frustration one day, Cooke sputtered: "I think I know why so many folks left Canada for California. They hated hockey." That ranks right up there with the greatest one-liners in sports history. Cooke, recall, divested himself of all his Los Angeles properties and moved to Washington, where he purchased the Redskins, built a stadium, dabbled in horse racing, etc.
Shock wasn't the reaction to the split decision which Timothy Bradley was handed a welterweight championship against Manny Pacquiao the other night. Shock was the reaction to the reaction. Hey, come on, the pay-per-view fight was staged in Las Vegas, where mindboggling decisions have been the norm for years.
Harold Lederman is an ex-judge who has called fights for years, and, working this one for HBO, had Pacquiao winning 11 of the 12 rounds. The "loser" landed 253 punches to the winner's 159 and, because we're talking about Pacquiao here, there is no doubt they were power punches. You have to love what Bradley's trainer, Joel Diaz, said after the fight -- "You've got to win the last round to win a fight." Even if it's the only one?
Promoter Bob Arum, who controls both fighters and probably wouldn't be averse to a rematch, said it was "an incredible situation, something I've never seen 47 years of boxing," and he said it with a straight face.
What is it with the Washington Capitals, getting rid of top goalie Tomas Vokoun, who was 25-17-2 last season on a team that didn't bother playing until the season was half over? The Caps got a seventh-round draft choice in return.
Big surprise, huh, the Seattle Seahawks being punished for breaking rules regarding offseason workouts. Recall, the team is coached by Pete Carroll, who had more than his share of troubles coaching at Southern Cal and got out just as the NCAA was closing in. A favorite USC maneuver occurred years ago, when they ran out of football scholarships, so they dipped into a band scholarship to make do.
Former Maryland football player Kevin Plank, founder and CEO of Under Armour, said everyone should give Terps football coach Randy Edsall a chance "and stop rooting against him." Recall, Edsall took a 9-4 team and transformed it into a 2-10 bunch, after which about two dozen eligible players departed, including the quarterback. Now that's loyalty.
By the way, The Baltimore Sun looked like the Under Armour Company newsletter with all the Kevin Plank meanderings. First he was hobnobbing with Ravens majority owner Steve Bisciotti and handing him a ton of money for the "privilege" of naming the Ravens' practice facility, and then he was predicting the playing field at Byrd Stadium will be heaven on earth. Anything else you would like to get off your mind, Kev? How about a tribute to Native Dancer?
The United States is all the way up to 28th in the latest world soccer rankings. They were 35th just 10 days ago. Onward and upward, lads.
It's probably heresy to say it, but Russia's famed KLM hockey line of Vladimir Krutov, Igor Larionov and Sergei Makarov was the equal of Detroit's terrific line of Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay and Alex Delvecchio during the 1950s, at least to these eyes. What prompted this was the word that Krutov just died at age 52. I saw KLM play all seven games during the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, and you literally couldn't take your eyes off of the trio.
It's obvious that Ron Jaworski, as a 10-year quarterback in the NFL, knows his stuff and he does a good job of covering the subject on TV. But isn't ESPN pushing it by having "Jaws" do a 30-part "QB Countdown" series on all the team's veteran signal callers at 9 a.m. daily? Of course, one might ask oneself, who's parked in front of the telly watching X's and O's weekday mornings? Maybe The Sun's Mike Preston; anyone else?
It's hard to believe that for all the years Baltimore spent in the American Hockey League (under various names), not once did it ever win the Calder Cup. Meanwhile, the Hershey Bears won out 10 times. The Norfolk Admirals swept the Toronto Whatevers for the cup this season.
ESPN proudly announced it is doing 170 hours of women's sports programming next week to mark the 40th anniversary of Title IX (June 23). Included in the deluge will be the Billie Jean King-Bobby Riggs tennis fiasco in 1973. No word on what this has to do with Title IX sports.
Don't be confused. That U.S. soccer team you've been watching on the tube, featuring Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and the rest, is the squad that might do some business during the next World Cup, two years hence, not America's 2012 Olympic hopefuls. The Olympics are for players 23 and under in this country.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter's description of the ice in New Jersey during the Stanley Cup finals reminds of what they used to say about the Civic Center ice on occasion: "less than below average."
The conclusions of the French and Italian Open championships the last month got a little spooky: On both occasions, Novak Djokovic double-faulted on a match point to give Rafael Nadal his record seventh title in Paris and record sixth title in Rome. How do you say déjà vu in Czech?
Posted June 14, 2012