1969: Martin KO’s Boswell

August 6, 1969

Early in August of 1969, in the midst of a pennant race, Dave Boswell mysteriously disappeared from the Twins’ traveling party. On August 10 in Baltimore, questions were answered when manager Billy Martin called a press conference to discuss Boswell’s absence.

At the conference, Martin reported that Boswell had attacked him outside of the Lindell Athletic Club in Detroit. As Martin told the story, he had learned that Boswell had hit Bob Allison in the parking lot and was on his way out to break up the fight. When he arrived on the scene, according to Martin, Boswell came after him with arms swinging. In self defense, Martin, a famous baseball fighter, eventually knocked his pitcher out.

The results of the fight read like a list of boxing injuries. Boswell was taken to the hospital and eventually needed 20 stitches. Martin needed seven stitches on his knuckle and had a bruised rib, while Bob Allison sported a black eye and required some dental work.

The day after Martin’s press conference Boswell told The Sporting News his side of the story. Boswell reported that he never went after Martin, rather that he was busy trying to keep the much bigger Allison down after throwing the first punch.

Martin didn’t sound all that remorseful. As quoted in The Sporting News:

“Boswell doesn’t have to apologize to me,” Martin said, “I know I had to do it once to a manager when I was a kid and it was embarrassing. That’s why I didn’t want him to come to the ballpark in Baltimore. It might have been embarrassing with all those cuts on his face.”

Apparently, the fight started due to Boswell’s refusal to run laps with the rest of the team.

On August 17, Calvin Griffith released a statement claiming that apologies had been exchanged, Boswell had been fined an undisclosed amount, and the matter was closed.

In the days following the fight, Boswell finished the 1969 season with an 8-3 stretch posting a 2.79 ERA in 11 starts. When a reporter prompted him with the numbers since the scuffle, Boswell quipped that if he ever slumps again he might have to pick another fight.


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