Blog Entry

Death Of A Player

Posted on: October 16, 2009 1:30 am
Edited on: October 16, 2009 2:01 am

Do you remember when a player you thought was the greatest or played for your favorite team died and how weird it felt? I sure as hell do. I was only eight years old on September 23, 1978 but I would be nine in October. By this time, I was very knowledgeable in baseball probably because I was obsessed with it and I could recite stats off the back of player's baseball card. Plus, I loved to play it and became pretty good. I would play from sunrise to sunset with anyone who wanted to throw the ball or go to the cages.

Alright, let me get back on track here. Death. My first "Death" experience came when Lyman Bostock of the California Angels was shot, murdered, while visiting his hometown of Gary, Indiana. I was in disbelief when I first heard the news and I know exactly where I was.

When I saw the news report on TV while at my grandmother's house, I really didn't know what was going on. I just could not comprehend that he would not be coming on the field the next day against Chicago, and then it hit me, he is never going to play again and I will never get to see him play again. I was thinking, "I just watched him play on TV against the White Sox that same day, so how could he have been shot?" I had the mind of a nine year old, so I didn't think of players as human and thought they stayed at the stadium or something. I was pretty crushed.

Bostock was an excellent right fielder and hit for a high average. He finished second for the batting title in 1977 with a .336 average. His Twin roommate at that time, Rod Carew, was first. He came to the Angels the next year as a free agent and was a big deal at the time. The Angels were still a young franchise but started to show signs that they could compete for a pennant. The Angels went to the playoffs for the first time in 1979. Who knows what would have happened if he was on that team. The Angels sure could of used a good left handed hitter against the Orioles great pitching staff.

Not only was Bostock a good baseball player, he was a better person because he was very honest, modest, selfless, smart, and giving. He signed for a lot of money then and there was a lot of scrutiny on him since free agency just started and salaries were getting big. After signing, he donated $10,000 to charity. He started off the 78 season in a huge slump and felt bad about taking his salary, so he went to management and tried to return his salary for April, but the team would not accept. He gave it to a charity instead.

After that game in Chicago, he went to visit his uncle in Gary, Indiana where he was born. They had dinner and then went to visit a girl he had tutored in high school. His uncle agreed to take her and a friend to the friend's cousin's house. The friend was separated from her husband at the time who was outside the house in his car when they left. The husband followed them and pulled up beside them on the right and pulled out his shotgun firing one shot into the car. Bostock was seated in the front seat next to the window. He later died from the gunshot wound while nobody else was injured. The husband said he thought Bostock and his wife were having an affair, but Bostock met her only 20 minutes before the incident. He said he meant to shoot her.

The worst part of the story is the murderer was found not guilty by reason of insanity after the first trial ended in a hung jury. He spent only 21 months in jail until the jury made a decision and spent about seven months more in a psychiatric hosptial when he was miraculously cured and declared not insane anymore.

The murderer's name is Leonard Smith and supposedly still lives in Gary but has not commented publicly about the murder since his release. I would like to see and hear Mr. Smith publicly apologize to the Bostock family, Angel fans and every baseball fan who was robbed of the opportunity to see a great player. I encourage everyone to attempt to contact this monster and pressure him for an apology.  ASF


Since: Oct 19, 2009
Posted on: October 19, 2009 7:51 pm

Death Of A Player

I guess Common Sense is still missing.  Livereater doesn't understand the blog so she calls antfarr a loser.  Others think a 9 year old should not be all that concerned about a Sports Figure passing.  When I was about 9 or 10 I realized I Hated cigarette smoke and realized it was not good for me.  It smells bad and makes breathing air unpleasant for non-smokers.  Pattywacker gets it.  He smokes and if he dies because of it then his family shouldn't get a settlement.  The argument:  They didn't know it could kill them!  Ahhhhh  and I bet those brown loogies they spit up didn't bother them either when they had colds.  They didn't know smoking wasn't a heathy activity? 

Back to topic: Good article/blog.  I didn't have the same experience because no athlete I cared so much about died.  Although a long suffering Browns fan the saddest death to me (to me) was that of Kansas City running back Joe Delaney in 1983.  I was 21 at the time.

Since: Oct 22, 2008
Posted on: October 19, 2009 3:47 pm

Death Of A Player

Whats the deal with this? Is this an ad for the non smoking type companies. Shoot I have smoked for years and love it. Its as natural as milk or wheat. Why are men gettin so weak and pussy like now in days. Whats wrong with making money off people? So if I have a hamberger joint I should get whats coming to me? We all feel bad for the dead like your "Sister" but its a shame that dudes like you try and spread your damn propaganda all around. Be a damn man.

Since: Dec 29, 2006
Posted on: October 19, 2009 12:14 pm

Death Of A Player

I was 8 when Lyman was shot.  I too remember where I was when I saw it on TV.  It was a huge bummer for me, I lived in Buena Park and rode my bike to Angel Stadium many times to watch the games.  As for an apology.  I think our "justice" system owes us the apology.  The monster was let go because of it.   Still miss Lyman.  Good blog post.

Since: Jun 17, 2008
Posted on: October 18, 2009 10:21 pm

Death Of A Player

Nice read. As far as an apology... well, that would just be too little, too late.

My first loss of an athlete was at the age of 13 with Reggie Lewis. It crushed me at the time.

He had just been passed the torch from Larry Bird and he had all the potential to be a HOFer when his career was over.

Instead, he died prematurely in the prime of his career.

And worse yet, it's was most-likely self-inflicted by cocaine use.

We like to view these people as heroes... but they are not.

They are just athletes, for the most part.

It's very rare that you actually get to see what kind of people that athletes are.

The unfortunate truth is that you just never know what demons these athletes carry around with them.

Other than Lewis, I would have to say the death of Dale Earnhardt also had an impact on me, as I grew up watching him dominate the competition in the black #3.

Every time I see that someone dies, I am reminded how fragile of an existence that we live... and I remember to be thankful for what I have in life.

Since: Sep 27, 2009
Posted on: October 18, 2009 4:43 pm

Death Of A Player

A media outlet, I pretty sure it was ESPN, did a lengthy piece on Bostocks life and tradgic end. During the piece they went so far as to look Mr. Smith up in an attempt to get him to issue an apology, in which he declined. From the piece it is evidently clear that Mr. Smith is living well below the poverty line and seems scared from the attention his actions have brought into his life. At this point I feel Mr Smith should be left alone with regards to this issue. His existence for every extensive purpose consist of mere survival, day to day.

I reckon your request to pressure Mr. Smith for an apology a bit melodramatic considering the time that has passed and the attempts that have already been issued. Mr. Smith has to live with the actions of that night in the squallier of his surroundings.

With that being said, I did like your story. I just think you could have ended better.

Since: Sep 1, 2008
Posted on: October 18, 2009 10:53 am

Death Of A Player

Nice post....makes you think.

I sure am glad that something like that never happens in Europe. If anybody, let alone a sports celebrity, is shot, it's major news over here. But I'm glad it rarely happens.

However, I remember following skying more closely when I was a kid and I was pretty crushed when a professional skyer from my country died, but it was a race accident.

Same with Formula 1 legend Ayrton Senna, but I can't think of somebody who got murdered. Thank god !

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: October 18, 2009 9:22 am

Death Of A Player

You people need to get a life!  How pathetic to compare losing a family member to losing an athlete that you idolize for some weird reason.  No wonder why our country is in such big dog doo!!

Since: Mar 10, 2009
Posted on: October 18, 2009 9:14 am

Death Of A Player

I agree.  I think it is terrible for the families of the famous people but when famous people die I really don't care.  I don't know them except for on television.  When someone I see every day and is a real person in my life then it has an affect on me emotionally.  When professional athletes and celebrities die it really doesn't matter that much.  It might seem cold but I don't really know them and they don't know me so they won't care when I die either.

Since: May 11, 2008
Posted on: October 18, 2009 8:56 am

Dear Antfarr

Wow, you really need to get a life. This article that you wrote just babbled on about nothing.

You sir, are the loser.

Since: Jun 29, 2009
Posted on: October 17, 2009 8:20 pm

Great comment by markitos1

maybe you outta go take care of this guy yerslef... maybe i should.....what a dumb a$$.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or