Wade Boggs

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Wade Boggs
Boggs.JPG
Third baseman
Born: (1958-06-15) June 15, 1958 (age 56)
Omaha, Nebraska
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 10, 1982 for the Boston Red Sox
Last MLB appearance
August 27, 1999 for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Career statistics
Batting average .328
Hits 3,010
Home runs 118
Runs batted in 1,014
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Induction 2005
Vote 91.9% (first ballot)

Wade Anthony Boggs (born June 15, 1958) is an American former professional baseball third baseman. He spent his 18-year baseball career primarily with the Boston Red Sox, but also played for the New York Yankees, with whom he won his only World Series, and Tampa Bay Devil Rays, with whom he recorded his 3,000th hit. His hitting in the 1980s and 1990s made him a perennial contender for American League batting titles. He is 33rd on the list of career leaders for batting average among Major League Baseball players with a minimum of 1000 plate appearances. Boggs was elected to the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.

With 12 straight All-Star appearances, Boggs is third only to Brooks Robinson and George Brett in number of consecutive appearances as a third baseman. In 1999, he ranked number 95 on the Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was a nominee for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Boggs, a 1976 graduate of Plant High School in Tampa, Florida,[1] currently resides in the Tampa Palms neighborhood of Tampa.

Early life[edit]

Boggs was born in Nebraska,[2] and grew up in Tampa, Florida. He attended Plant High School in Tampa where he played high school baseball. He graduated from Plant High School in 1976.

Minor league career[edit]

Boggs played in the longest game in professional baseball history as a member of the Pawtucket Red Sox in 1981 against Cal Ripken, Jr. and the Rochester Red Wings. "The Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings, two teams from the Triple-A International League, played the longest game in professional baseball history. It lasted for 33 innings over eight hours and 25 minutes. 32 innings were played from 18 to 19 April 1981 at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, Rhode Island."[3] During his last year in the minor leagues with Pawtucket, he led the league with a .335 batting-average, 167 hits, and 41 doubles.[4]

Major league career[edit]

Boston Red Sox[edit]

A left-handed hitter, Boggs won five batting titles starting in 1983. He also batted .349 in his rookie year which would have won the batting title, but was 121 plate appearances short of the required minimum of 502. From 1982 to 1988, Boggs hit below .349 only once, hitting .325 in 1984. From 1983 to 1989, Boggs rattled off seven consecutive seasons in which he collected 200 or more hits, an American League record for consecutive 200-hit seasons that was later matched and surpassed by Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki. Boggs also had six seasons with 200 or more hits, 100+ runs and 40+ doubles. Although he would not win another batting title after 1988 (his batting title that year broke Bill Madlock's Major League record of four by a third baseman), he regularly appeared among the league leaders in hitting.

In 1985, Boggs had 72 multi-hit games, a club record.

In 1986, Boggs made it to the World Series with the Red Sox, but they lost to the New York Mets in seven games. He holds the record for batting average at Fenway Park, at .369.

New York Yankees[edit]

In 1992, Boggs slumped to .259 – one of only three times in his career that he failed to reach .300 – and at the end of the season he left the Red Sox, with whom he had spent his entire career to that point. He was heavily pursued by two teams: the Los Angeles Dodgers and the arch-rival of the Red Sox, the New York Yankees - he chose the Yankees when they added the third year to the contract that the Dodgers would not offer. Boggs went on to be awarded three straight all-star appearances, had four straight .300-plus seasons, and even collected two Gold Glove Awards for his defense.

In 1996, Boggs helped the Yankees win their first World Series title in 18 years, which became his only world title. In the series' fourth game, which saw the Yankees rally from six runs down to win, Boggs was called on to pinch hit in the tenth inning and using the batting eye he was known for throughout his career, he coaxed a bases-loaded walk out of Steve Avery which gave the Yankees the lead in a game they went on to win 8-6.[5] After the Yankees won the series in game 6, Boggs memorably celebrated by jumping on the back of an NYPD horse, touring the field with his index finger in the air - despite his self-professed fear of horses.[6][7]

Tampa Bay Devil Rays[edit]

Boggs signed with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for the final two seasons of his career. He hit the first home run in Devil Rays history, in the 6th inning of the inaugural game on March 31, 1998. On August 7, 1999, he collected his 3,000th hit with a home run. Despite his reputation as a singles hitter with limited power, he is one of only two players whose 3,000th hit was a home run,[8] and was the only one until Derek Jeter hit his on July 9, 2011. Boggs' 3,000th hit ball was caught by Michael Hogan who had just moved to Tampa, 10 days prior, to take a job as assistant director of athletic communications at the University of South Florida. Hogan gave the ball back following the game. Boggs retired in 1999 after sustaining a knee injury, leaving with a career batting average of .328 and 3,010 hits. Two yellow seats among the rest of the Tropicana's blue seats mark where both historic balls landed in right field, each with a small metal plate noting it as the area that the ball landed.

Baseball legacy[edit]

RaysRetired12.PNG
Wade Boggs's number 12 was retired by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2000.

His career paralleled that of Tony Gwynn, who also debuted in the National League in 1982. Boggs and Gwynn were the premier contact hitters of their era. They both won multiple batting titles—Boggs's five and Gwynn's eight—and each won four straight to join Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, and Rod Carew as the only players to do so. Gwynn and Boggs each hit over .350 in four straight seasons, the only players to do so since 1931. They joined Lou Brock and Rod Carew as the only players whose careers ended after World War II who finished with 3,000 hits and fewer than 160 home runs.[9][10]

While not unique among non-pitchers, Boggs also recorded a few innings pitching at the Major League level. His main pitch was a knuckleball, which he used 16 times (along with one fastball) in one shutout inning for the Yankees against the Anaheim Angels in a 1997 game.[11]

His own style included mental preparedness techniques, which consisted in visualizing four at-bats each evening before a game and imagining himself successfully getting four hits.

As of June 8, 1986, over the course of the previous 162 games (equivalent to a full season, though across two seasons) Boggs was hitting .400, with 254 hits in 635 at-bats.[12]

In 1987, Boggs – who was up for a new contract following the season – hit 24 home runs, the most in any year of his career.

On April 7, 2000 his #12 was retired by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. It is the only number to have been issued only once by the Rays.[13] Although he has not had his number retired by the Boston Red Sox, he was inducted into the team's Hall of Fame in 2005.[14]

Boggs was known for his superstitions. He ate chicken before every game (Jim Rice once called Boggs "chicken man"), woke up at the same time every day, took exactly 150 ground balls in practice, took batting practice at 5:17, and ran sprints at 7:17.[8] His route to and from his position in the field beat a path to the home dugout. He drew the Hebrew word "Chai", meaning "life", in the batter's box before each at-bat, though he is not Jewish.[15] He asked Fenway Park public address announcer Sherm Feller not to say his uniform number when he introduced him because Boggs once broke out of a slump on a day when Feller forgot to announce his number.[16]

Life outside baseball[edit]

The Margo Adams affair and palimony lawsuit[edit]

Boggs autographing the book "Yankee Stadium" at a book signing on September 23, 2008

Boggs garnered non-baseball related media attention in 1989 for his four-year extramarital affair with Margo Adams, a California mortgage broker. After Boggs ended the relationship in 1988, Adams filed a $12 million lawsuit for emotional distress and breach of oral contract. She argued that Boggs had verbally agreed to compensate her for lost income and services performed while accompanying Boggs on road trips.[17] Boggs' reputation was further sullied when Adams agreed to an interview with Penthouse magazine in which she discussed intimate details of her time with Boggs.[18] While acknowledging the affair, Boggs went on the offensive in order to combat the wave of negative press, denying many of the claims made by Adams. Boggs' rebuttal included an appearance on the ABC program 20/20 in which he presented his side of the story to Barbara Walters.[19] In February 1989, an appeals court threw out $11.5 million of the initial lawsuit, ruling that Adams could not seek compensation for emotional distress.[20] The remaining demand for $500,000 was settled out of court later that year for an undisclosed amount.[21]

Hall of Fame plaque cap logo controversy[edit]

Before his retirement, Boggs was plagued by newspaper reports that the expansion Devil Rays gave him financial compensation in return for selecting a Devil Rays cap for his plaque at the Baseball Hall of Fame, though he has denied that any such condition was part of his contract.[22] In light of those reports (and other rumors that teams were offering number retirement, money, or organizational jobs in exchange for the cap designation) the Hall decided in 2001 to change its practice of deferring to players' wishes regarding cap logo selection, and reinforced the Hall's authority to determine with which cap the player would be depicted. Boggs is wearing a Boston cap on his plaque.

Family[edit]

Boggs's mother died in June 1986 due to a car accident in Tampa while he was with the Red Sox.[23] Shortly after her death, Boggs and his father bought a fish camp on U.S. 301 just south of Hawthorne, Florida they named Finway, which his father operated until shortly before he died.[24] Wade and his wife Debbie have two children, Brett and Meagann.[25]

Wade Boggs was named one of the Top 10 Most Superstitious Athletes by Men's Fitness.[26]

Wrestling[edit]

As a baseball player, Boggs made an appearance for the professional wrestling promotion World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1988. He appeared in a vignette with wrestler Mr. Perfect in which Perfect played baseball. The two remained good friends afterward and 19 years later in 2007, Boggs inducted the late Perfect into the WWE Hall of Fame. In the DVD The Life and Times of Mr. Perfect, Boggs related how Hennig saved his life, carrying Boggs to help after he had severely cut his leg climbing over a broken barbed wire fence during a hunting trip.[27]

Television[edit]

Boggs was one of the baseball players featured in the classic The Simpsons episode "Homer at the Bat", in which he was recruited as a ringer by Mr. Burns for the Power Plant's softball team, only to later be knocked out in a bar fight (over whether Lord Palmerston or Pitt the Elder was England's greatest Prime Minister) by Barney Gumble. Boggs appeared as himself in the episode "Bar Wars" of Cheers, in which he was sent to the bar as an apology by a rival bar. He was accosted by the regulars who thought he was a fake. David Levine revealed in 2009 that Boggs had promised to trade Adams' panties for Kirstie Alley's.[28] In Seinfeld's "The Chaperone", George convinces the Yankees to switch to cotton uniforms, assuring manager Buck Showalter that the Bombers would be "five degrees cooler than the other team." Wade Boggs was quoted as saying: 'What a fabric! Finally we can breathe.'[29] In 2011, he also appeared in the Psych episode Dead Man's Curveball.

Oil Can Boyd's accusation of racism[edit]

Former Red Sox pitcher Oil Can Boyd was on a book tour to promote his new autobiography and was on the Dennis and Callahan show on WEEI, when he claimed that Boggs was a bigot and would call him the n-word every day to his face in the clubhouse.[30] Boggs vehemently disputed the claims, asserting "Absolutely, positively, 100 million percent, I am not a racist. I am not a bigot."[30] Referring to Boyd, who has admitted to frequently using cocaine and marijuana, Boggs noted, "You have a delusional drug addict who let not only his family down, but his team, the city of Boston, Red Sox Nation when it counted most. Now he wants the good people of Boston to go out and spend money on this garbage to support his habit. I find that extremely amusing."[30]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Boggs!, Contemporary Books, 1986. ISBN 0-8092-5063-2.
  • The Techniques of Modern Hitting, Perigee Books, 1990. ISBN 0-399-51595-X. (with David Brisson).
  • Fowl Tips: My Favorite Chicken Recipes, 1984. (with Debbie Boggs)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Famous Faces". St. Petersburg Times. May 30, 2010. p. 4E. 
  2. ^ "Wade Boggs". Museum of Nebraska Major League Baseball. Retrieved June 4, 2014. 
  3. ^ Berkow, Ira (June 24, 2006). "33 Innings, 882 Pitches and One Crazy Game". New York Times. 
  4. ^ Norman MacLean, ed. (1988). 1988 Who's Who in Baseball. New York: Who's Who in Baseball Magazine Company, Inc. 
  5. ^ http://www.baseballlibrary.com/ballplayers/player.php?name=Wade_Boggs_1958
  6. ^ Kaduk, Kevin (15 July 2012). "Wade Boggs on Boston's refusal to retire his number: 'It's disappointing'". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  7. ^ Curry, Jack (27 October 1996). "Boggs Takes a Ride". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ a b "The Ballplayers - Wade Boggs Biography". BaseballLibrary.com. Retrieved 2008-07-25. 
  9. ^ Verducci, Tom (August 9, 1999). "Single Minded". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on June 12, 2012. 
  10. ^ Chass, Murray (June 29, 2001). "ON BASEBALL; Hits to Stop Coming Once Gwynn Is Gone". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 14, 2012. 
  11. ^ Curry, Jack (1997-08-21). "Boggs and His Knuckler Are the Stars of the Show". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-24. 
  12. ^ Boston Globe, June 9, 1986. p. 37.
  13. ^ "Retired Uniform Numbers in the American League". Baseball Almanac.com. Retrieved 2008-07-25. 
  14. ^ "Red Sox Hall of Fame". RedSox.com. Retrieved 2008-07-25. 
  15. ^ The Rundown. >"Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me". Retrieved 2008-07-25.  NPR. August 6, 2005
  16. ^ Callahan, Gerry (May 21, 1993). "Cheers Wade's World back in town". Boston Herald. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  17. ^ Margolick, David (1989-03-03). "THE LAW; At the Bar". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-25. 
  18. ^ Chass, Murray (1989-02-23). "BASEBALL; Gossip Checks In At Red Sox Camp". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-25. 
  19. ^ "SPORTS PEOPLE: BASEBALL; Boggs Speaks Out". New York Times. 1989-03-25. Retrieved 2008-07-25. 
  20. ^ "Big Hit for Boggs in Court". New York Times. 1989-02-27. Retrieved 2008-07-25. 
  21. ^ "SPORTS PEOPLE: BASEBALL; Boggs Settlement". New York Times. 1989-12-13. Retrieved 2008-07-25. 
  22. ^ Muder, Craig (2005-01-06). "Boggs, Sandberg field queries as new Hall of Famers". www.usatoday.com (USA Today). Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
  23. ^ Shaughnessy, Dan (July 31, 2005). "Boston Red Sox - Wade Boggs: 2005 Hall of Fame inductee". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  24. ^ "Old Florida Heritage Highway CMC Meeting". March 4, 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  25. ^ Nipps, Emily (28 July 2005). "She's been his closest fan for 30 years". St. Petersburg Times. 
  26. ^ Top 10 Most Superstitious Athletes
  27. ^ The Life & Times of Mr. Perfect (2008)
  28. ^ Wade Boggs and Baaaaa-d behavior
  29. ^ Confirmed by Jay S.
  30. ^ a b c Boeck, Scott (May 10, 2012). "Wade Boggs: Oil Can Boyd is 'a delusional drug addict'". USA Today. Retrieved July 11, 2012. 

External links[edit]