Thad Bosley

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Thaddis Bosley Jr.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Thad Bosley had a 17-year career in organized baseball. He hit .272 in a major league career that spanned three decades. Thad was a very good pinch-hitter during his career, recording 80 hits in 290 at-bats (.276) with 8 home runs and 50 RBI. In 1976, he was the California League Most Valuable Player.

Early life[edit]

Bosley had not planned on a baseball career as a youth. He had considered being a writer, musician or inventor before settling on baseball, though he would revisit two of those other fields later in life. In high school, he played baseball against All-Star catcher Lance Parrish.

In the Angels system[edit]

Thad had never attended a California Angels game despite growing up in Southern California; after they took him in the 4th round of the 1974 amateur draft, he decided he would not step foot inside Anaheim Stadium until he made it there as a player. Bosley debuted professionally in 1974 with the Idaho Falls Angels, hitting .242/~.425/.291. He drew 71 walks in 68 games and scored 55 runs, leading the Pioneer League in walks (by 26) and was third in steals (27 in 36 tries). His 11 errors led the league's outfielders, though. In 1975, Thad moved up to the Quad Cities Angels and hit .298/~.415/.354, improving his contact and finishing 7th in the Midwest League in batting average. He stole 37 bases in 43 tries, finishing fourth in the MWL; Julio Cruz and Willie Wilson were two players with more. His fielding was crisper, as his .981 fielding percentage was tops among the league's regular outfielders, and he made the league All-Star team. Bosley's rise continued in 1976. He hit .324/~.420/.400 for the Salinas Angels, earning MVP honors in the California League and making the league All-Star team. He finished 8th in average, tied for sixth in walks (86), 4th in runs scored (105), second in hits (171) and led with 90 steals (and 17 times caught stealing). His 285 putouts led the league's outfielders as did his .977 fielding percentage while his 13 outfield assists tied for 4th. Thad promptly skipped Double A and started 1977 with a bang for the Salt Lake City Gulls, hitting .326/~.364/.433 with 23 steals in 32 tries. Had he qualified, he would have tied for 8th in the Pacific Coast League in average.

Instead, he got called up to the Angels and debuted on June 29, hitting 7th and starting in center field. He struck out in his first at-bat against Jim Colborn but went 2 for 4 on the day with a run scored, a triple and 3 RBI. On the year, he batted .297/.346/.363 for the Halos (tops on the club) for a 97 OPS+ despite being one of the 10 youngest players in the American League. That winter, Bosley was part of a major trade which sent him, along with Richard Dotson and Bobby Bonds, to the Chicago White Sox for Brian Downing, Chris Knapp and Dave Frost.

1978-1980: White Sox and minors[edit]

Bosley split 1978 between Chicago (.269/.308/.329 in 66 games) and the Iowa Oaks (.291/~.350/.358, 21 for 29 in steal attempts in 47 games). He repeated the shuffle in 1979, hitting .264/~.334/.335 for Iowa with 18 steals in 27 tries and .312/.384/.390 in 36 games for the 1979 White Sox. He battled injuries both years. In 1980, Bosley spent his first season in the majors full-time but hit .224/.272/.279 in 162 plate appearances spread over 70 games. Thad ripped tendons in his hand when he cut back against a Mike Flanagan curveball, but the injury was not discovered until later in 1981.

1981-1982: More Triple A/MLB shuffling[edit]

On April 1, 1981, Bosley was dealt by Chicago to the Milwaukee Brewers for John Poff. He hit .229/.270/.248 in 42 games for the 1981 Brewers and .320/~.381/.393 with 10 steals in 13 tries in 34 games for the Vancouver Canadians. He was 0 for 1 in the 1981 ALDS, lost by Milwaukee. In March 1982, Thad was traded again, to the Seattle Mariners for Mike Parrott. He played for Salt Lake City once again, batting .298/~.379/.476 in limited time and .174/.240/.196 in 22 games for the 1982 Mariners. It appeared that his injuries and poor MLB performance were going to lead to an early end to his career.

1983: Mexico[edit]

Bosley was signed as a free agent by the Oakland Athletics but, just over a month later, he was sold to the Chicago Cubs, his sixth organization. Chicago sent him to the Mexican League's Mexico City Tigers. Bosley recalls that "The playing the conditions in the Mexican League weren't bad - except for the heat. That's like saying that the first voyage of the Titanic wasn't bad - except for the iceberg." Bosley hit well, batting .327/~.424/.561, but lost 23 pounds in six weeks due to a virus and returned to the US to get better.

1983-1984: Iowa and Chicago[edit]

Bosley batted .290/~.358/.548 for the 1983 Iowa Cubs and returned to the majors with Chicago, hitting .292/.373/.458 in 43 games for the Cubs and establishing himself as a quality pinch-hitter, a role that saved his career. He split 1984 between Iowa and Chicago again. With Iowa, he hit a dazzling .358/~.458/.580 with 11 steals in 14 tries. Had he qualified, he would have led the American Association in batting average. He was leading when Chicago called him up.

Bosley was getting tired of riding the pine and considered retiring on August 19. He had packed his things to return home and leave baseball after the game that day. He went through his usual Sunday routine of church and batting practice. In the fifth inning of a 6-6 game, he pinch-hit for Warren Brusstar with Jody Davis and Larry Bowa aboard. Bosley, suffering from a wrist injury which limited his power, took the pitch from Jeff Russell and hammered it into the second deck for a three-run homer, his first of the year with Chicago. It made him decide to stay in baseball. He hit .296/.375/.418 for the 1984 Cubs for a 116 OPS+, the lowest of a strong three-year run with the Cubs. He struck out in both of his at-bats in the 1984 NLCS.

1985-1987: Three years in the majors without being sent down[edit]

Bosley had his best season in the majors in 1985. He hit .328/.391/.511 for a 140 OPS+ in 108 games and was voted the best pinch-hitter in baseball. Had he qualified, he would have been second in the 1985 NL in batting average behind Willie McGee, sixth in OBP and 7th in slugging percentage. He hit 2 home runs on August 12, against the Montreal Expos. He came on in the bottom of the 6th inning to pinch hit for Warren Brusstar with runners on 1st and 2nd. Against Randy St. Claire, Bosley homered to tie the game, 6-6. He stayed in to play left field and, in his next at bat, hit a 2-run homer off of Jeff Reardon to give the Cubs the lead. The Cubs won, 8-7. Thad batted .275/.370/.350 in 1986 for a 94 OPS+ brought down by his off year on the power front. Chicago traded him the next March, with Dave Gumpert, to the Kansas City Royals for Jim Sundberg. Bosley had his last full year in the major leagues with the 1987 Royals, producing at a .279/.318/.357 clip at age 30.

1988-1990: The last years[edit]

Bosley started off 4 for 21 for the 1988 Royals and was released. Signed by the Angels, he hit .280/.321/.347 in 35 games with them in 1988, 14 years after they drafted him. He also spent time that year with the Edmonton Trappers, batting .308/~.419/.442. In 1989, Bosley was in the Texas Rangers organization, hitting .307/~.386/.437 for the Oklahoma City 89ers and .225/.273/.350 for the 1989 Rangers. He wrapped up his playing career with the 1990 Rangers, batting .138/.242/.241 in 30 games.

Post-playing career[edit]

Thad worked as hitting coach for the Oakland A's from 1999 to 2003. He became head coach of the Bethany Bruins in 2009-2010 and was announced as the coach of Arizona Christian University for 2011. He returned to the major leagues in 2011 as hitting coach of the Texas Rangers. That gig did not last long, as on June 8th, he was replaced by Scott Coolbaugh.

Bosley has recorded gospel music albums and written poetry as well since his playing days ended. He was a key component of Lenny Randle and The Ballplayers, who recorded the single "Kingdome" in 1981.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Related Sites[edit]

Sources: 1975-1990 Baseball Guides, Fall of the Roman Umpire by Ron Luciano