On September 6, 1995, Cal Ripken had the greatest night of his baseball career when he broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive game record. Alas, I was not there. One week later, on September 13, 1995, Dwayne Hosey had the greatest night of his baseball career and I was there. So you ask, who is Dwayne Hosey? Read on.
The summer of 1995 was a good one for the Boston Red Sox. Mo Vaughn had established himself as one of the premier mashers in the league. Most of the supporting casts of hitters, including the newly acquired Jose Canseco, were having good years at the plate. And the team had plucked knuckleball hurler Tim Wakefield off the scrapheap and he had responded with an outstanding season. Going into September the Sox led the Eastern Division and it was apparent that they would probably finish first. The Red Sox were scheduled to play a September mid-week three game series in Baltimore. None of the games were in my thirteen game plan and I had already seen the Sox back in June, but surely the circumstances required special consideration. Mary agreed and so on Wednesday September 13, I headed to the Yards.
It turned out that Tim Wakefield was the Red Sox pitcher that night. He pitched well in what was the first of many times that I would see him over the ensuring years. However for that one night, my attention was captured by Boston’s center fielder. His name was Dwayne Hosey.
I had never heard of Dwayne Hosey. I knew that centerfield had been something of a trouble spot for the Sox that year. They had tried a number of players and had not been satisfied with any of them. Hosey, I later found out, had been purchased from the Kansas City organization on August 31.
The Red Sox placed Hosey in the leadoff spot: he was the first batter of the game. Jimmy Haynes, a rather highly regarded Orioles prospect was on the mound making his major league debut. Haynes delivered and Hosey ripped into it for a homerun. This was not one of those cheap Camden Yards homeruns that just makes it to the crowd in left field. Rather it was a blast that went over the wall in deepest center field. Certainly an attention getter.
Hosey continued to hold my attention throughout the evening. In the second inning he hit a double that came close to clearing the fence. He had another double in the eighth and eventually scored on a Canseco single. He added a single in the ninth. The Red Sox won 2-0. Wakefield came close to a completing a two hit shutout, although he needed ninth inning help from Rick Aguilera, the long time Minnesota closer who was with Boston on a temporary loan. The Red Sox had seven hits that night and Hosey had four of them. He also scored both their runs.
Dwayne Hosey went on to have quite a September, hitting .338 and slugging .618. An article in the Red Sox paper Diehard indicated that he had experienced a troubled youth but had managed to straighten out his life. I forget the details, but the story made you want to root for the guy.
Then as quickly as it began – it ended. Hosey played centerfield for the Sox in the Division playoffs and went hitless – 0 for 12. The next spring he was given an opportunity to win the centerfield job. He played twenty-eight games, hit .218, was sent to the minors, and subsequently dealt to Texas. He never played for the Rangers. Wikipedia says he played in Japan for a couple of years. I have no idea what followed. Baseball is like that. It provides us with the prolonged excellence of a Cal Ripken or a Carl Yastrzemski to be savored and admired over a generation – but it also gives us those shooting stars like Dwayne Hosey who hold our attention for a brief moment and are gone.