January 21, 1892|
Rochester, New York
|Died: September 12, 1973
|April 14, 1915 for the Detroit Tigers|
Last MLB appearance
|June 17, 1921 for the St. Louis Browns|
|Earned run average||3.25|
Bernard Anthony Boland (January 21, 1892 – September 12, 1973) was a Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher for the Detroit Tigers (1915–1920) and St. Louis Browns (1921). Boland was a reliable pitcher for five years before suffering a broken arm. Using his sharp breaking curve, Boland once struck out Babe Ruth three times in one game.
Born in Rochester, New York, Boland made his major league debut in 1915 with the Detroit Tigers. Boland was 13–7 with a 3.11 earned run average (ERA) in his rookie season and came within four batters of throwing a no hitter. On August 16, 1915, Boland retired the first 23 Cleveland Indians batters he faced, only to give up a lone single to pinch-hitter Ben Paschal, who was making his major league debut. Paschal's hit off Boland was his only hit of the 1915 season. Boland and the Tigers went on to win the game 3–1. The Tigers won 100 games but finished second in the American League in 1915, finishing 21⁄2 games behind the Boston Red Sox.
In 1916, Boland had another good year. His .769 win percentage (10 wins, 3 losses) was the best in the American League.
The 1917 season may have been Boland's best. Boland started 28 games for the Tigers, had 13 complete games, three shutouts, and went 16–11 on the season with a 2.68 ERA.
Boland broke his arm in 1919 and was never the same. In 1920, Boland was 0–2 in only four games. The 1921 season was Boland's last, as he went 1–4 for the St. Louis Browns. Boland finished his career with a record of 68–53 and a 3.25 ERA.
Ty Cobb was Boland's teammate for six years with the Tigers. According to some accounts from players and family, Boland and Cobb were often at odds, as they came from different backgrounds and carried very different beliefs.
In 1926, Boland returned to the news for comments he made concerning a scandal involving allegations of gambling and/or game fixing against Ty Cobb. Boland, then a paving contractor in Detroit, was the Tigers pitcher in a 1919 game against Cleveland that Cobb had reportedly agreed to fix. In December 1926, Boland was interviewed by the Detroit News and denied having anything to do with fixing the game. However, Boland surprised the public by acknowledging that there were a lot of "friendship games" at the end of a season. Boland went on to say: "The way I figure it, about one in every 300 games is crooked, and those at the tail end of the season." Boland said he was glad that "some of them are getting justice at last."
Boland died in Detroit, Michigan, on September 12, 1973.
- Stump, Al (1994). Cobb: The Life and Times of the Meanest Man Who Ever Played Baseball. pp. 373–374.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Bernie Boland on BaseballLibrary.com
- Bernie Boland on Baseball Almanac