Lyman Bostock, Sr.

"Don't forget where you come from, always stay in touch with God."
--Lyman Bostock, Sr.

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Lyman Bostock, Jr.
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Negro Leaguer of the Month
March, 2005

Lyman Bostock, Sr.

Born: March 11, 1918 in Birmingham, AL
Ht:6'-1", Wt: 205
Batted left and threw left
Position: first base
Years: 1938-54
Teams:Brooklyn Royal Giants, Birmingham Black Barons, Chicago American Giants, Jackie Robinson All-Stars, Winnipeg Buffaloes, Carman Cardinals

Lyman Bostock, Sr. was one of the top first basemen of the 1940s, but it took his son, Lyman, Jr., to fulfill his Major League Dream.

Bostock grew up in Birmingham and played his first competitive baseball in the tough mining and industrial leagues around town, with such teams as the Stockham Pipe Shop and Eagle Iron Works. Bostock usually played games on the weekends and worked laying pipe or digging ditches during the week.

Bostock broke into the Negro Leagues with the Brooklyn Royal Giants in 1938, the same team fellow first baseman Buck Leonard had broken in with four years earlier. Bostock immediately gained a reputation as a slick-fielding first baseman and decent outfielder. He had a good enough glove, in fact, to play a few games at shortstop!

As for hitting, Bostock was a left-handed line drive hitter with good power, and generally batted above .300 with double digit home run totals.

In 1941, after moving on to the Birmingham Black Barons, Bostock started at first base in the East-West All-Star game and ripped at RBI single off Terris McDuffie in his first at bat.

Soon after, Bostock was drafted into the army, and when his hitch was over he had some trouble getting his batting groove back.

In 1947, Bostock signed with the Chicago American Giants, and got back to his sweet-swinging days, batting over .300 the next few years. In 1950, Bostock signed with the Winnipeg Buffaloes of the Manitoba-Dakota League, where he would spend several years.

After retiring from baseball, Bostock worked for the post office in Birmingham, and became a fine artist, specializing in carving handmade baseball bats. Bostock's carvings truly are fantastic pieces of art that deserve a place of honor wherever baseball fans could view them. Whether in Punta Cana Dominican Republic or Cancun, his bats have the ability to further the knowledge of the game of baseball and the history of the Negro Leagues.

In the early 1970s, Bostock's son, Lyman Jr., starred as an outfielder at Cal. State-Northridge, and led them to a second place finish in the College World Series in '72. By 1975, Bostock was in the Major Leagues with the Minnesota Twins.

Junior, a strapping young left-hander like his dad, had all the talent his father had, plus good footspeed. In 1977, Bostock came in second to Rod Carew for the American League batting title (Carew hit .388!), when he batted .336 with 14 homers, 12 triples, 36 doubles and 90 RBIs.

Bostock, still his prime at age 26, was traded to the California Angels because the Twins couldn't afford his salary. The young star was as generous as he was talented, and donated $10,000 of his new salary to a Birmingham church.

After hitting terribly in April, Bostock tried to return his salary to Angels' owner Gene Autry. Autry refused, so Bostock donated his month's salary to charity.

Starting in May, Bostock started hitting like his old self, and was batting .296 in September when tragedy struck. Bostock was driving in his uncle's car on the 23rd in Gary, Indiana when he was gunned down in a case of mistaken identity. The man who shot Bostock was let out of prison after serving less than two years.

In 1981, Bostock was inducted into the Cal. State-Northridge Hall of Fame.

Click here to read a fine article about Lyman Bostock, Jr.


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