PICTURE: The SoxNerd and Dick Bosman.
Birthday boy Dick Bosman’s time with the White Sox didn’t last long.
The same can’t be said for his impact.
Bosman, who turns 73 today, served as White Sox pitching coach for part of 1986 and all of 1987.
During that time, the former Major Leaguer created or, at the least, perfected the slide step.
The move, which reduces a pitcher’s leg kick to hold runners on, has become commonplace today.
With the White Sox, Bosman noticed that catcher Carlton Fisk was having trouble throwing out runners trying to steal.
Bosman figured high-kicking pitchers such as his Jose DeLeon, Richard Dotson and Floyd Bannister were delivering the ball in 1.7 seconds, as much as four-tenths of a second slower than the desired release.
To quicken the release, Bosman told his staff quit the kick and use their lower bodies to drive and push their arms forward. Soon the technique was taught throughout the White Sox system.
Bosman said the veteran staff was receptive to the new technique, which enhanced its credibility.
“I am sure there are others who have done things in those areas,” said Bosman, a minor league pitching coordinator for the Tampa Bay Rays. “I go back to ’86 and ’87 in Chicago when we first started doing that kind of stuff. Am I the first guy? Or did I invent it? I don’t know.”
After being jettisoned by the Sox after the 1987 season, he spread the technique to the pitchers he worked with in the Baltimore, Texas and Tampa Bay organizations.
With the technique firmly in place, it begs the question: Is that Bosman’s legacy?
“I hope there’s more to it than that,” said Bosman, who hails from the same town –Kenosha, Wis., — as longtime Sox pitching Ray Berres. “If that’s part of it, then so be it.”
As for his time with the Sox, Bosman has nothing but good memories and reflects upon his his one-plus season in Chicago as a valuable learning experience.
One of the good things to come out of Ken “Hawk” Harrelson’s one-year as Sox GM was launching Bosman’s pro coaching career, which marked its 30th anniversary in 2016.
“I remember my time there fondly,” Bosman said. “For a guy just getting back into the pro ball … I could teach but my organizational skills weren’t good … (Getting fired) is (part of the business). The first time you get fired is almost like the first time you get traded, it’s difficult.”