Here is a sepulchral Dick Bosman on the brink of the last of 11 years in the major leagues. The year before, after toiling for several years on cellar-dwellers, Bosman had been traded to the reigning three-time World Champion Oakland A’s, who promptly relinquished their hold on league supremacy. It would perhaps make a better story if Dick Bosman had played a significant role in the A’s fall, as if he’d become some kind of carrier of the virus of defeat from all his years with the Senators, Rangers, and Indians, but in fact he performed well for the division-winning A’s throughout the 1975 regular season, going 11 and 4, and he was an insignificant factor in their playoff defeat at the hands of the Boston Red Sox. His third of an inning pitched in the 1975 playoffs turned out to be a harbinger of things to come, a fact perhaps sensed on some level by Dick Bosman as he posed forlornly for this picture. After this card was shipped, the insignificance of Dick Bosman grew, the former ERA champ and no-hitter hurler reduced to spot-starting and mopup duty for the slowly sinking former champs.
And here is Dick Bosman the following spring, on the brink of a life beyond baseball. He has of course grown a mustache and permed his hair. He stares directly at the viewer instead of, as in the previous year, off into some nauseatingly empty expanse, but there is something in the permed stare that has a hint of the fragility that accompanies the desperate uttering of self-help mantras. Also, there is the placement of the glove. Where the year before Dick Bosman had held his glove to his gut as if stoically applying pressure to a wound, now Dick Bosman is holding his glove up in a defensive posture, betraying his knowledge that all of his pitches, even hypothetical ones in the presence of a Topps photographer, are going to be hammered, possibly right back in the direction of the new and improved Dick Bosman, who was cast out of the world of the Cardboard Gods by the A’s on March 29, 1977, presumably before even a single strand of his new artificially curled hair had had a chance to wilt.