Wade Boggs gets a bad rap around here.
Yes, he rode the horse at Yankee Stadium. Yes, he wore his Yankee World Series ring as he and his 1986 Red Sox teammates were honored at Fenway Park last night. And there is the whole Margo Adams affair that landed said mistress in Penthouse and Wade on 20/20 with Barbara Walters. My God, he even cried for Barbara. Plus, he was labelled selfish for wanting to hit for a higher average as opposed to hitting home runs.
He was a walking controversy.
But he was also a hell of a player who deserves to have his number 26 (sorry, Lou Merloni) on the right-field facade.
Over his eleven seasons with the Sox he hit .338 with an .890 OPS and averaged 190 hits each season. He was the East Coast Tony Gwynn. Unlike Wade, Gwynn was a media favorite playing in laid-back San Diego who always had a smile on his face. Boggs sported a perpetual scowl, unless he was on the road with Ms. Adams.
While we can reminisce about strange and crazy time Boggs had in Boston off the field, it should be noted that he was a great player. He is, after all, a Hall of Famer – you know, the Cooperstown kind and not just the Red Sox Hall of Fame.
He was stuck in the Sox farm system until he was 24 years old. The book on him said great hitter but so-so fielder. Boggs worked his butt off at becoming a very good third baseman. Eventually, he won back-to-back Gold Gloves with the Yankees in 1994 and' 95.
At the plate his number were staggering. In 1987 he had a OPS of 1.049 and had over 200 hits in each season for seven straight years. In 1985, he had 240 hits! He won five batting titles for Boston.
It's too bad that Margo Adams and riding the horse at Yankee Stadium has overshadowed his Red Sox career. On the field it was awesome, and to this day is greatly unappreciated by Red Sox fans.
Great guy? Nah. Great player? Yeah.