Minnesota Twins Greatest Left-Hander No. 6: Lyman Bostock (1975-1977)
Some might be surprised by this pick, as Lyman Bostock only wore a Minnesota Twins uniform for three years, but it was an incredible three years. In those three years, Lyman hit .318 with 250 RBI’s and 30 stolen bases. That’s a really great stretch for a pretty offense starved 1970s.
He was also a great run producer and a player that many people considered to be one of the best defensive center fielders in the league. The Twins thought they had an excellent center fielder for the next decade, one that Nolan Ryan at one point called “one of the few natural hitters in the American League.” Unfortunately, we know the end of this story.
Financially-strapped Minnesota Twins owner Calvin Griffith was not able to come to terms with Bostock and he became a free agent. An incredible young talent hitting the open market opened up a bidding war between the Yankees, Padres, and Angels, leading to the Angels coming out on top and signing Lyman to a 5-year $2.3 million contract.
Lyman started out slowly for the Angels at the beginning of the 1978 season. He felt so bad about his performance and demanded that Angels owner Gene Autry keep his money until he started earning it. Autry still wanted to pay him, so Bostock instead donated $50,000 to a charity.
Bostock caught fire later in the year and was having a very productive year as the Angels went to Chicago to play a late season game against the White Sox where tragedy struck. After one of the games, Lyman was driving in Gary, Indiana with his uncle on a family visit. While he was in the car, a dispute occurred and the driver in the other vehicle ended up shooting into the car, killing Lyman.
It was a truly heartbreaking moment in baseball, and the baseball world was crushed by the loss of a bright young star and excellent human being. Bostock’s Twins career and life was cut terribly short, but his talent was truly incredible.