Veteran chooses to serve his country instead of pursuing MLB career

Local News
Veteran throws first pitch at Fort Benning Softball All-Star game

A former Fort Benning soldier made his mark on the military post with dazzling performances on the baseball diamond at Gowdy Field 60 years ago.

Buddie Boswell had every opportunity to play ball in the major league, but chose to serve his country instead.

“Mom and dad were real patriotic people, and I just felt a need to serve my country. And there’s nothing that would’ve kept me from doing my two years and more if they needed me,” says Boswell.

Boswell was sought out by several MLB teams during the 1950s. The St. Louis Cardinals and Cleveland Indians were two of more than seven teams recruiting the then 21-year-old.

He chose the Army instead, serving two years at Fort Benning between 1956-1958.

The 84-year-old returned to Fort Benning for the first time since being stationed there Wednesday.

Fort Benning holds a special place in Boswell’s heart, because it’s the place where his two passions collided.

“I’m 84 years old now, and the few most special years of my life was when I was here at Fort Benning. There’s just some chemistry here that cant be matched, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart,” says Boswell.

Boswell played for the then competitive Fort Benning baseball team on the historic Gowdy Field.

“I have flashbacks every day of this field. Of all the ball I played down through the years, this was my favorite place that I’ve ever played.” 

Boswell was given the honor to throw out the first pitch in the 2018 Fort Benning All-Star Softball game and Homerun Derby.

He says visiting the field brought back memories from the glory days.

“Playing baseball on a field like this, big crowds then, this place was full of screaming, hot dog eating fans. It was like out of a movie.”

Boswell recalls a rivalry game against the Fort Bragg team.

“I pitched 8 innings that night and it was one hit ball game. They got one hit off of me,” the Veteran reminisces.

Boswell recalls moving to Fort Benning as a newly-wed, and his first child was born at Fort Benning. He says baseball is what kept him from deploying during the Cold War and leaving his young family behind.

It may have been 60 years since he’s visited, but whether it’s the game, his military service, or his family, Fort Benning remains in his thoughts.

“I’ve never been away from it in memory… Never… “

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