Former Williston star, Oriole Sam Bowens
dies in WIlmington
The Wilmington Star-News 4/1/2003
By Mike Voorheis
Sam Bowens, a former outfielder for the Baltimore Orioles and Washington
Senators, died last Friday at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. He
Bowens played with the Orioles from 1963 to 1967 and the Senators in 1968
He was a talented athlete and earned letters in four sports at Williston
“He was born like that, I would say,” Sam Bowens Sr. said of his son’s
athletic ability. “We would be in the yard, playing catch, and I’d have
to tell him to cool down a little. He was throwing too hard.”
His best season in the major leagues was his rookie year of 1964, when
he batted .263 with 22 home runs and 71 RBIs. For his career, he batted
.223 with 45 home runs and 143 RBIs.
After his strong rookie season, Bowens’ career was soon derailed by his
addiction to alcohol and, he said last September, a beaning to the head
“It affected my hitting,” Bowens said. “I’d pull my head out up there.
I wouldn’t stay with the inside pitches. I would bail out and drop my
Bowens, who has three surviving children in Indianapolis, Ind., returned
to Wilmington in the 1980s, his father said.
After a few years of anonymity, Bowens was discovered by a group of people
who have a soft spot for former ballplayers.
Jim Smith, who owns a baseball card shop in Wilmington, said Bowens was
discovered by a Wilmington police officer responding to a nuisance 911
After talking to Bowens for a few minutes, Smith said, the officer spotted
Bowens’ old baseball cards on a table.
Smith and the officer later organized a fund-raiser to buy Bowens a new
Bowens’ health continually deteriorated, and he was using a wheelchair
and staying at a Wrightsville Beach nursing home last year.
Visitation for Bowens will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. today at the Adkins-Drain
Southside Chapel. Funeral services weill be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday
at St. Mary Catholic Church.