|Lyman Bostock was a 5.1 WAR player in 1977 |
(6th best in the AL that year among postition
players. He had a .329 BaBip for his 4 year
career. Fangraphs Stats
Even though he had left the Twins after the end of the 1977 season, I still liked him; he amazed me with his smoothness in the field and at the plate. He had every bit, in my estimation, of the pure hitting skill that another Minnesota Twin, Kirby Puckett, would display several seasons later. I'll just flat out say it: Lyman would have went into the Hall of Fame.
Just an extraordinary player.
It can only end up as conjecture. We'll never know what would have become of Lyman Bostock the baseball player. It is, of course, very secondary to his future as a husband and father. Absolutely. To say his passing was gut-wrenching is to understate the feeling of everyone at that time.
But it still makes me wonder: what would have been his lifetime hitting totals? How good would he have become? I thought he was an amazing clone of Rod Carew in his ability to go to the opposite field, but then absolutely SPANK one into the right-center field gap. To recap: he and Larry Hisle had grown weary of being relatively under payed by the Calvin Griffith regime, prompting his signing as a free agent with the Angels in the offseason of 1977.
COMPARISON: 2 TWINS GREATS in FIRST THREE SEASONS (scroll up/down)
It seems a clear-cut win for Puckett in home runs and RBIs (especially if you disregard the fact Bostock was limited to 98 games in his rookie season after an injury shelved him for over two months, from April 21 to June 27). But then look at the interesting similarites in extra base hits, then the plate discipline edge in walks for Bostock, the OPS advantage for Bostock. Which makes Bostock's slugging totals all the more impressive, more bang for the buck, when you note that Puckett played in 71 more games, and had about 25% more plate appearances than Lyman over three years.
I like to imagine the two of them playing in the same outfield in the mid to late 1980s...when Bostock, like Roy Smalley and Bert Blyleven before him, could have returned to the Twins and played on the 1987 Championship team.
Like any other dream, it can only reside in that quiet place in my mind, when I think of the garrulous clubhouse leader, the one his teammates called "Abdul Jibber-jabber, and imagine the fun we could have had if a mad man hadn't found him on that dark street in Gary, Indiana.
via GIPHY Inside-outing the ball, or swinging away, it didn't matter.
Lyman Bostock was a natural. In his last Game: September 23, 1978
"So long, everybody!" - Herb Carneal