Today’s Random Player From The Baseball Project That May Or May Not Amount To Anything is Lyman Bostock. Bostock was a 26th round pick of the Minnesota Twins in the 1972 draft (the same year the Indians took Rick Manning second overall) out of Cal State Northridge. Despite the low draft status, Bostock shot up the Twins farm system, hitting .326/.414/.422 in 292 minor league games. He continued to hit the big leagues, too, hitting .282/.331/.366 as a rookie and upped that to .323/.364/.430 his second season. In his third he looked to be reaching stardom, hitting .336/.389/.508, finishing second in the batting race to teammate Rod Carew (granted, a distant second; Carew hit .388/.449/.570). He was a free agent after the 1977 season and signed with the California Angels, bringing him closer to home and a whole lot more money (his salary jumped from $20,000 to $450,000).
But Bostock got off to a slow start, hitting just .147 in the month of April. Bostock felt it was so bad that he met with Angels management and offered his month’s salary back since he felt he didn’t earn it. The team didn’t accept his offer, so he decided to donate his check to charity. Apparently the donation did him wonders, as he wound up hitting .318 through September 23, raising his average to .296.
September 23 was a Saturday and the Angels were in Chicago. Saturday’s game was an afternoon tilt, and after the game Bostock went to visit his uncle in nearby Gary, Indiana for dinner. After dinner they went to visit a young woman Bostock had tutored as a teenager. She was there with her sister and after talking for a few hours, Bostock’s uncle offered to take the two girls to their cousin’s house. Little did anyone know that one girl’s estranged was watching them the whole time, convinced she was having an affair. The man followed their car, pulled up next to them in an intersection, pulled out a shotgun, and fired a bullet into the backseat, supposedly aiming for his wife. He didn’t get his wife. Instead, Bostock took the bullet to the head. He died a couple of hours later. He was 27 years old.
His killer, a man named Leonard Smith, was actually tried twice for murder. The first time resulted in a hung jury, and the second he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He was released within seven months, and never committed another crime again. However, he never really paid for the one he committed.