Most Americans know Wade Boggs as a Hall of Fame third baseman for the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Tampa Bay Devil Rays. To me he is so much more, Boggs is a true national treasure, and his story must be chronicled in one place. This article is not about baseball, but about the overall lore of a living legend, a true American hero.
1) Baseball: On the Field – I know I said that this was not about about baseball, but we would never have heard of Boggs if it wasn’t for America’s Pastime, but Wade Boggs is without a doubt one of the greatest hitters of all time. He is a career .328 hitter and a member of the exclusive 3,000 hit club. Boggs was a 12 time All-Star, 2 time gold glover, 8 time Silver Slugger, won 5 batting titles and won the 1996 World Series with the Yankees. He was a first ballot Hall of Famer in 2005, and few players in the history of baseball have a better career resume. Boggs was also known for his knuckleball and pitched two career innings, striking out two batters during his major league career.
2) Boggs and Alcohol – If there was an International Drinking Hall of Fame, Wade Boggs would be a First Ballot Hall of Famer in TWO Hall of Fames. The legend started when, during a radio interview when Boggs’ former teammate pitcher Jeff Nelson claimed that Wade Boggs drank between 60-70 Miller Lites on a cross country trip between New York and Seattle. The legend goes like this:
According to Nelson: Boggs was always the first player in the clubhouse, and he would bring a six pack with him, and as the rest of the team arrived and packed their bags Boggs would be drinking the entire time. The team would take a bus from Yankee stadium to Newark Airport in New Jersey, and Boggs would drink a few more beers on the bus, followed by a few beers in the airport. Back then, a plane could not fly across the country without stopping to refuel, and according to Nelson, Boggs would drink “half a rack” between New York and South Dakota, and then have a few more beers in the airport. Once the team got back in the air, Boggs would drink another “10, 11, 12” beers on the way out to the West Coast. After landing in Seattle, Boggs would have a few more beers on the bus to the Kingdome, then the team would unpack their bags and bullshit with each other and Boggs would have a beer in his hand the entire time. This was not an isolated incident, Boggs drank to this extent on nearly every West Coast trip. When Pardon the Interruption hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon asked Boggs about his drinking habits, Boggs said “Let’s just say it was a few Miller Lites” and that “It’s nothing to be proud of.” We disagree Wade, BRAVO!!!
3) Boggs and Women – Boggs has been married to wife Debbie since 1978, but that couldn’t stop our hero from getting some strange ass. Boggs had a mistress who traveled with him ON TEAM ROAD TRIPS from 1984-1988 while he was a member of the Boston Red Sox. He broke off the affair in 1989 and his side-piece (named Margot Adams) angrily went on the offensive suing Boggs for $12 million for “Emotional Distress and Breach of Oral Contract”. After Boggs was forced to come clean in an interview with Barbra Walters on 20/20, the lawsuit was thrown out.
4) Friendship with Wrestling Legend Mr. Perfect – Wade Boggs met Curt Hennig, better known as wrestling legend Mr. Perfect in 1983 and the two became fast friends, often hunting and fishing together. In fact, during a hunting trip in 2001 Hennig saves Boggs’ life. While deep in the woods, Boggs became entangled in a barbed wire fence, which badly lacerated his leg and rendered him unable to walk. Boggs rushed to his friend’s aide and untangled him from the fence, then carried Boggs over a mile through the thick brush to their truck and transported him to a nearby hospital for treatment. Boggs likely would have bled out and died from his injuries had Hennig not been with him and acted so heroically. Sadly Hennig died of a cocaine overdose on February 10th 2003, and was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007 by his friend Wade Boggs.
5) Hall of Fame Controversy – Wade Boggs was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame on his first year of eligibility in 2005. Although unconfirmed, during contract negotiations in 1998 the Tampa Bay Rays supposedly offered Boggs $1 million dollars to choose their team logo on the cap he was pictured wearing on his Hall of Fame plaque, which would make Boggs the first member of the Hall of Fame with the Rays logo on their cap. Although Boggs only played for the Rays for the final two of his 18 major league seasons, he accepted their offer, which forced the MLB to change their Hall of Fame policy. Now Major League Baseball chooses which teams cap is featured on the plaque, not the player. Boggs is in the Hall of Fame wearing a Boston Red Sox cap, the team for which he played the majority of his career.
6) Wade Boggs and Superstitions – Wade Boggs is widely regarded to be one of the most superstitious athletes of all time. Boggs ate chicken before every single game of his career earning him the nickname “Chicken Man” amongst his teammates. Boggs fielded exactly 100 ground balls every day during practice, and always took batting practice at 5:17 and ran sprints at 7:17. Although Boggs is not Jewish, he drew the Hebrew word “Chai” which means “Life” in the dirt before each at bat. Boggs also asked the public address announcer at Fenway Park to never announce his number during introductions, because the announce once forgot to announce Boggs’ number and he broke out of a slump in that game. If I was a psychiatrist, I wild diagnose Boggs as having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Wade Boggs was one of the greatest players in baseball history and one of the most interesting men in the world off of the field, this combination made Boggs a true American hero.