It’s been said many times in this land of ours, a person should always pursue their dreams; particularly a young person. However, the reality for many who pursue professional baseball there comes a time when you’ve had your shot, you need to hang up your cleats, and no MLB General Manager is going to give you another opportunity; unless you’re Buddy Boshers (pronounced “Bo-sheers”).
Boshers is pitching again in the major leagues for the Minnesota Twins. The last time he graced a major league stadium was in 2013 for the Los Angeles Angels. For Boshers, returning to the big leagues is called never giving up. As a left-hand pitcher, drafted by the Los Angeles Angels out of Calhoun Community College (Decatur, AL) in 2008, he toiled in the minor leagues for the better part of six seasons before making his major league debut on August 10th against Cleveland at the age of 25. He made 25 appearances in what remained of the 2013 season posting a 4.70 ERA. Although a major league career appeared to be in his future, the Angels sent Boshers back to Triple-A (Salt Lake City) in 2014 and he eventually spent the majority of the season pitching for Arkansas, the Angels Double-A affiliate.
Eleven (11) Triple-A appearances in 2014 and a 6.23 ERA was not what the Angels were looking for and Boshers was released. In December of 2014 Boshers signed a minor league contract with the Rockies but he became expendable near the end of spring training before the 2015 campaign started. Without a contract, Boshers took the risky path of pitching for the Somerset Patriots in the independent Atlantic League posting a 1.00 ERA with 71 strikeouts in 54 innings.
Usually professional baseball players who find themselves in the independent leagues after playing with a MLB affiliated club are on their way out, not on their way up. Its true MLB teams will sometimes look at younger, undrafted players who are attempting to continue their playing careers after college in the independent leagues. There have been a few success stories of players initially overlooked and picked up by a major league club. But seldom does a 28 year old like Boshers get the call.
So what circumstance presented itself where a guy like Boshers gets another shot? Well, two things occurred. First, after Boshers finished the 2015 season in the Atlantic League he gave himself another opportunity to be seen by traveling to Caracas, Venezuela to play in the 2015 Venezuelan Winter League. Second, the Minnesota Twins were searching to shore up a struggling bull-pen which had been a systemic problem the last couple of years. This past winter, the organization made a concerted effort to find new talent, wherever it may lie. Boshers’ winter league performance was good enough to ink a 1 year / $507,500 contract with the Twins who immediately assigned him to their Triple-A affiliate (Rochester).
As Buddy’s luck would have it, the Twins bullpen continued to struggle right out of the gate. The Twins currently sit last in the American League Central division. An inspection of the teams pitching statistics shows 9 members of the pitching staff with ERA’s of 6 or more. In an attempt to transfuse their anemic bullpen, the Twins called up “the lefty” from Triple-A on May 25th and Boshers has made the most of it. Boshers has posted 2 wins and 0 losses, collected 13 strikeouts in 13 relief appearances, and has compiled a 1.64 ERA.
Moral of the story: Just when the challenges seem overwhelming, or you’ve suffered one setback after another and you are seriously thinking about throwing in the towel; give it one more try. Buddy Boshers stuck with his strategy of being a major league pitcher, and with it he’s brought a breath of fresh air to the Minnesota Twins. They got a guy who can get hitters out!