Bostock Memorial a Benefit Ballgame in Search of Players

Times Staff Writer

Terry Craven, Cal State Northridge baseball coach, is preparing his team for a 54-game schedule that will match the Matadors against some of the best NCAA Division I and Division II teams in the country.

But Craven isn't particularly worried about USC, UCLA or conference rival Cal Poly Pomona. He knows those teams will show up.

The same cannot be said for the Matadors' opponent in the annual Lyman Bostock Memorial Scholarship game, which is Feb. 9 at CSUN.

Bostock, an outfielder who played at CSUN in 1971 and 1972, was a member of the California Angels and had planned on forming a scholarship program before he was shot and killed Sept. 23, 1978, in Gary, Ind.

After his death, the CSUN baseball program began a scholarship fund in Bostock's name that was awarded annually to a player in need of financial aid. To raise the money, the CSUN baseball team played a group of major league players, with proceeds going to the scholarship fund.

But this year's game is in jeopardy because Craven can't find enough professional players to take part.

During the years immediately following Bostock's death, the game had no trouble attracting players.

"At that point, major league baseball and the Angels were very supportive," Craven said. "Every organization was contacted and promised a representative."

The first three games in 1979 through 1981 were big hits.

"They were legitimate major league all-star games," Craven said. "Everyone was a name."

In 1979, Jim Fregosi was the manager of a team that included Dusty Baker, Lee Lacy, Robin Yount, George Hendrick, Jerry Reuss, Rick Dempsey and Bert Blyleven.

But in 1982, most major league baseball teams no longer wanted their players to participate because of injuries suffered by players in college alumni games. Craven said front offices had two concerns. One, they didn't want their pitchers facing the aluminum bat, which is used in college games. Second, college players were in playing shape in February, major leaguers generally were not.

Said Craven: "They're afraid a player's competitive desire will take over and the players will try to do something they're physically not ready to do."

The Milwaukee Brewers' organization stepped in from 1982-84 by providing the game with players from a West Coast mini-camp held annually in the Valley before spring training. Major leaguers such as Yount, Jim Slaton, Marshall Edwards and Mark Brouhard participated.

But even the Brewers could not help Craven last year. The mini-camp was discontinued, forcing the Bostock game to be canceled.

"We decided to go back to the original concept," Craven said. "We want Valley-area professional players--minor leaguers and big leaguers--to play against us.

Craven said he contacted every major league team and the scouts that regularly attend CSUN games. He also tried to contact all of the professional players who live in the Valley.

But problems persist. The Dodgers are playing their annual scrimmage against USC on Feb. 9. The Angels won't allow players in their organization to participate. The only major league player who has agreed to play is Minnesota pitcher Bert Blyleven.

"There's still a lot of people in the big leagues who want to honor Bostock," Craven said. "A guy like Blyleven must feel he's in control of his life. He probably intends to throw just one inning, maximum."

The money is important, Craven said, "but we just want to perpetuate what Lyman started."

Quote of the Week: CSUN basketball Coach Pete Cassidy, after watching the Matadors drop a game at Chapman College on Saturday:

"We turned off our brains and turned on the stupidity."

The Master's College basketball team has struggled to a 5-15 record, 0-4 in NAIA District III. The Mustangs have been beaten in nearly every statistical category this season.

Said The Master's Coach Randy Stem: "I've had a few sleepless nights. I don't know what our problem is. We just can't put it together.

"We can't play any worse than we did in the second half against Southern California College the other night. It was like a comedy film. We couldn't pass the ball, we couldn't catch the ball, we couldn't dribble and we couldn't shoot. We were awful.

"We shot 24% in the second half. We shot 30% from the free-throw line. I'm gonna start asking the refs if we can just take the ball out of bounds after fouls."

How does the coach feel about Tuesday's game against NAIA power Biola University?

"I'm gonna be suicidal after that one."

After being ranked No. 10 in the NCAA Division II basketball poll, the Northridge women's team fell out of the rankings following losses to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly Pomona last week.

Pomona, ranked No. 1, beat the Lady Matadors, 91-59. It was CSUN's 19th consecutive loss to the Broncos. In fact, Northridge hasn't beaten Pomona since 1976. The series record is 20-1.

Greg Badovinac, assistant sports information director at Northridge, has accepted a position at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo as interim sports information director. The school will replace former director Steve Rutledge, who resigned to pursue business interests. Badovinac said he would apply for the position.

Gary Klein contributed to this story.

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