If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will recognize this post. It is one I have done the last few years on this calendar day commemorating Lyman Wesley Bostock, born March 11, 1918 in Birmingham, Alabama. Twenty-four year old Bostock, a promising Negro League baseball player, went into the military in 1942. Thirty-three years later Bostock became one of the less than handful of former Negro League players who had sons that played in the Major Leagues. Being twenty-four years old in 1975, Lyman Bostock Jr. began his Major League baseball rookie season with the Minnesota Twins. He fulfilled the dream that alluded his father
Before going into military service, the senior Bostock played first base for the Birmingham Black Barons. Selected by fans as an All Star in 1941, he got a hit in the Negro League East West All Star Game. However, after returning to baseball in 1946, he did not regain his All-Star form and no opportunity to play in the Major Leagues came when the “invisible color line” disappeared in 1947. Had integration in Major League baseball come prior to Bostock’s years in the military, it could have been a different story for him. Bostock played in the Negro Leagues until 1954.
Lyman Bostock Jr. became one of the first players to benefit from the Major League baseball free agency system in the 1970s. After hitting over .300 for two years with the Twins, he signed a huge contract with the California Angels in 1978. Unfortunately, we did not get to see the full extent of Lyman Bostock, Jr.’s baseball ability. A gunman cut short the ballplayer’s career, killing him during the season that year. A senseless tragedy ended the great story that the son of a former Negro League player had become a Major League baseball player.
The indisputable ties between Negro League baseball and the Major Leagues were not fully acknowledged during the late 1970s, before the boom of interest in the Negro Leagues that exists today. But, Lyman Bostock, Jr. displayed the actual DNA representation of those ties. How great it would be for baseball today if a Negro League player’s descendant dawned a Major League baseball uniform.
To read more about the Negro League baseball era Last Train To Cooperstown