Sunday, August 22, 2010
#81) DON BOSCH
Don Bosch came to the New York Mets when he was traded from the Pittsburgh Pirates along with Don Cardwell in exchange for Dennis Ribant and Gary Kolb on December 6, 1966. The young switch-hitter was touted by his Pirates Triple-A Manager, Larry Shepard as a centerfielder worthy of comparison to Willie Mays. His arrival in New York was highly anticipated by the media and fans.
Bosch made his debut with the team on April 11, 1967 at Shea Stadium. Don was the Mets' Opening Day leadoff hitter and centerfielder. He collected a base hit off Pittsburgh starter, Don Veale in his first at-bat that game. However, his hitting would not continue long after that, and by mid-May he was being used exclusively as a slick-fielding defensive replacement and pinch-runner. The Mets optioned Bosch to Triple-A Jacksonville with a .148 batting average on June 5th. In 90 minor-league games Don was able to hit .263 with five home runs. Earning him a September call-up and an opportunity to finish the 1967 season as a bench player in New York.
During spring training the next year Don beat out fellow outfielder Amos Otis for the final roster spot and started the 1968 campaign with the Mets. Bosch would again split time between New York and Jacksonville. Spending the majority of the season in the majors as a reserve batting .171 in 50 games. The highlight of which was stroking his first major-league home run on June 14th facing the San Francisco Giants. The solo-blast came off pitcher Mike McCormick in the third inning of the Mets 7-3 victory at Shea Stadium.
"I don't think I compared him with Mays," Larry Shepard hedged to Baseball Digest in March 1968. "He didn't have Willie's quickness or arm, but he could go as far to catch a ball. Maybe the jump from Triple-A to the major leagues was too much for him." Perhaps if his minor-league manager had not generated such lofty expectations Bosch might have been given more realistic goals and time to develop in New York.
The Mets sold Don's contract to the newly formed Montreal Expos on October 16, 1968.
Don Bosch signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to his home on November 8, 2008.