SEATTLE — SEATTLE -- The veteran Cleveland Indians right-hander who barely battled his way into the bullpen to make the team out of spring training, stood on the mound 20 years ago today one strike away from making history.
Dick Bosman threw a fastball away and the Oakland Athletics' Bill North swung and missed.
The Cleveland fans went berserk, but all Bosman, now the Orioles pitching coach, could hear was the screaming of the speedy left fielder who had made his way to the mound in a hurry.
"You deserve it," John Lowenstein hollered in Bosman's ear. "You deserve it. You deserve it. You deserve it."
Over and over again.
"He knew all I had been through," Bosman said of the current Orioles broadcaster.
No need to wonder why Bosman the pitching coach has a soft spot in his heart for reclamation projects such as Jamie Moyer and Fernando Valenzuela. Bosman the pitcher was one himself when he made baseball history 20 years ago by no-hitting the Athletics.
The season before, which he split between the Texas Rangers and Cleveland, Bosman had gone a com bined 3-13, burdened by a sore shoulder.
Can you say washed up? Nearly everyone who saw Bosman pitch in 1973 could.
"I had a horrendous year the year before the no-hitter," Bosman said. "I had been written off by everyone. I dedicated the winter to getting myself back in shape, went to spring training and had a good spring but still had to scuffle to make the staff. We made a deal with the Yankees at the end of spring training and picked up three or four more pitchers, so I started the year in the 'pen."
Bosman worked his way into the rotation, which made it easier for his parents, George and Nella, to determine when to travel from Kenosha, Wis., to see him pitch.
They were in the stands when Bosman made history.
"My dad steamrolled six cops to get into the dugout," Bosman said.
Bosman's wife, Pam, and daughter, Michelle, then 2 years old, were
in attendance as well.
"They had me come back out on the field to address the crowd after it," Bosman said. "The only regret I have from that day is that I wish I had my wife come out there with me. She was so much a part of it. She was so supportive when I went through that tough season the year before."
Bosman's 1973 season was riddled not only by a sore arm, but by a blood clot in his leg that landed Bosman on the disabled list.
The no-hitter during a 7-5 season was just the tonic Bosman needed.
"That carried me for a while," he said. "It did so much for my own belief in myself, did so much for my confidence. There were a lot of people who had written me off, then to do that and be traded to the team I no-hit the next season, traded to a winner for the first time and going 11-4 for them down the stretch, I felt like I had died and gone to heaven."
Bosman had only himself to blame for not pitching a perfect game.
Sal Bando, the game's only base runner, reached first base on Bosman's fourth-inning throwing error.
Bando hit a swinging bunt to Bosman's right. Having fallen off the mound to the left, Bosman needed to hurry and bare-handed the ball. He
rushed a throw that pulled first baseman Tommy McCraw off the bag.
Most teams gave pitchers a $5,000 bonus for throwing a no-hitter, though the frugal Indians only gave Bosman $2,500.
The Indians won the game, 2-0, Bosman defeating Dave Hamilton.
John Ellis, not Bosman's favorite catcher, Dave Duncan, was behind the plate for the game, which explains why Bosman spent much of his nine innings shaking his head from side to side.
Bosman threw the right pitch to Reggie Jackson -- a slider down and in -- to end the fourth with a strikeout, the biggest out of the early innings.
For his career, Bosman went 82-85 with a 3.67 ERA and his best season was 1969, when he went 14-5 with an American League-best 2.19 ERA for the Washington Senators.
His best day was 20 years ago today.
"It made my career a little more special," said Bosman, who threw four one-hitters. "It's something you always aspire to do. You never forget something like that. I always dreamed what it would be like to be on the mound for the third out."
As of 20 years ago, he no longer had to dream.