Dan Osinski

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Daniel Osinski

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Biographical Information[edit]

Originally signed by the Cleveland Indians organization, Dan Osinski was a hard-throwing right-hander known for his threatening look toward hitters while leaning in for the sign. Dan made his professional debut with the 1952 Fort Smith Indians, going 11-16 with a 3.58 ERA. He walked a Western Association-high 171 batters in 221 innings. In 1953, Osinski went 18-7, 2.80 for the Sherbrooke Indiens, tied for third in the Provincial League in victories and was fourth in ERA. In 1954, the right-handed hurler had a 13-10, 3.87 season for the Keokuk Kernels. The next year, at age 21, he made three stops, going a composite 5-4 for the Spartanburg Peaches, Reading Indians and Tulsa Oilers. In 1956, he was 10-11 with a 3.75 ERA for the Fayetteville Highlanders to finish the Indians portion of his career at 57-48. Cleveland let him go.

Osinski was out of Organized Baseball in 1958 before signing with the hometown Chicago White Sox. During his minor league career, Osinski claims that a record-keeping error kept a 20-win season pitching for Fort Smith from his record. It seems highly unlikely unless he meant his 1954 Sherbrooke campaign.

In 1959, he went 8-9, 2.41 for the Duluth-Superior Dukes and followed by going 9-2, 2.89 for the Lincoln Chiefs and 0-1, 2.31 with the Charleston White Sox. In 1961, he went 8-6 with a 2.50 ERA for Charleston.

Picked up by the Kansas City A's, Osinski made his major league debut in 1962 at the age of 28, facing Lenny Green who would later be a teammate with the Boston Red Sox in 1966. After a bid to trade him to the Los Angeles Angels for Bo Belinsky was vetoed by Commissioner Ford Frick, Osinski was ultimately traded to the expansion club for Gordie Windhorn and a player to be named later. He became a spot starter and reliever with LA. He also pitched that year for the Portland Beavers (9-4, 1.61) and the Albuquerque Dukes (3-1, 3.00) for a composite record of 18-9 in his three stops. He spent the next two years with Los Angeles, going 11-11 with ERAs around league average.

He was later traded to the Milwaukee Braves as a player to be named later in exchange for Phil Roof and Ron Piché. In Milwaukee, he toiled for a single season (0-3, 6 Sv, 2.82), before being traded to the Boston Red Sox in November, 1965 along with pitcher Bob Sadowski for first baseman Lee Thomas and pitchers Arnie Earley and Jay Ritchie.

Osinski worked mostly in relief for Boston in 1966, starting only the final game of the season for interim manager Pete Runnels, who opted to use Osinski rather than Jim Lonborg in the second game of a doubleheader in Osinski's hometown of Chicago. Lonborg then relieved Osinski in that victory and would go on to a 20-win season the following year. Osinski was 4-3 with 2 saves and a 3.61 ERA in Boston.

Left off the club's 40-man roster following the 1966 season, Osinski pitched his way back onto the club when it broke camp in Winter Haven, Florida and solidified his spot on the roster with an outstanding early season in 1967. He remained a part of the "Impossible Dream" Red Sox, who won the American League pennant after a historic pennant race that saw four teams still in the race entering the final weekend, and three teams still in the hunt on the final day. Of all players who were with the 1967 Red Sox for the entire season, Osinski was, at 33, the oldest. He also led the team in batting with a .333 average (1 for 3) and in ERA with a 2.85 mark (although falling far short of the innings pitched requirement for league leader status). He made two appearances in the 1967 World Series.

Released after Spring Training in 1968, Osinski caught on with the Hawaii Islanders club of the Pacific Coast League, which "owned" a number of its own ballplayers. With Hawaii, he went 8-2 with a 2.39 ERA. He was signed by the Chicago White Sox for 1969, pitched well, and moved to the Houston Astros where he made his final appearance in 1970, retiring Willie Mays with his final pitch in the big leagues. Houston placed him on the club's Oklahoma City AAA roster and he was drafted by the San Diego Padres, but retired to work in the banking industry, where he had been employed during the off-seasons. Overall in the minors, he was 108-81 and 29-28 with a 107 ERA+ in the majors.

Popular with teammates and the media, Osinski was a recipient of the Boston Baseball Writers "Good Guy" award. He is also known for a wisecrack to a waitress who asked him if he wanted a pizza cut in six or eight pieces. "You better make it six," he said. "I don't know if I can eat eight slices."

Further Reading[edit]

  • Ron Anderson: "Dan Osinski", in Bill Nowlin and Dan Desrochers, eds.: The 1967 Impossible Dream Red Sox: 'Pandemonium on the Field', SABR, Rounder Books, Burlington, MA, 2007, pp. 202-205. ISBN 978-1-5794-0141-2

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