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Wade Boggs wants his number retired by the Red Sox

Apr 10, 2013, 8:24 AM EST

Wade Boggs Devil Rays

The best pure hitter — not that I’ve never been clear on what people mean when they say that — of the 1980s speaks to the Boston Globe:

Wade Boggs already owns a piece of the Field of Dreams. But he still dreams that the Red Sox will ease his pain and retire his No. 26 at Fenway Park.

“It would be nice,” said Boggs, 54, who is currently the assistant baseball coach of the Wharton High School Wildcats here, wearing pinstripes. “Am I bitter? I thought when I wore a Boston hat in the Hall of Fame I’d be up there.

“It’s been eight years now. I used to be bitter. But I think those days are over. Was I bitter? Absolutely.”

He probably deserves it on the merits, but having one’s number retired isn’t an exercise in quantitative analysis.  Yes, Boggs has a “B” on his Hall of Fame cap, but there were rumors that the Devil Rays included a “wear a Tampa Bay cap” on your plaque provision in his contract there at the end of his career. Boggs denied it, but the Hall of Fame felt it necessary to change its rules afterward to take away the choice on the matter from the players.

Also didn’t help that Boggs rode that horse in the Yankees World Series celebration in 1996. Which was totally cool and if you hold that against him for some reason you’re a heartless feind, but maybe the Yankees associations hurt his number-retirement cause in Boston.

You have to imagine it’ll happen for him eventually — the Red Sox can’t deny how awesome Boggs was for them forever, right? — but it’s not often that anyone gets what they want in this world by going to the press and whining like this either. Play the long game, Wade.

  1. skeleteeth - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:34 AM

    Loyalty is for dogs…

  2. ronswansonsdinner - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    He should have had a bucket of fried chicken on his plaque.

    • pellypell - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:08 AM

      You should have a bucket on your head, bucket head.

    • sabatimus - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:18 AM

      To be fair, he WAS known as “Chicken Man”. Though he didn’t eat fried chicken before games. But what’s the over-under on when people stop bringing up the tremendously hackneyed “beer ‘n’ fried chicken” crap? It’s probably the same as stuff like “Belicheat” and saying the Pats’ SB wins are all tainted….which means about 150 years.

      • yahmule - Apr 10, 2013 at 2:37 PM

        Or, maybe, the overly dramatic whiners who cheer for those teams could grow a pair and tone down the snivelling just a bit.

  3. deadeyedesign23 - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    Assistant baseball coach? Who’s the coach, Ty Cobb?

    • mybrunoblog - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:44 AM

      LOL! Awesome!

    • jm91rs - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:58 AM

      I guess it’s the nice way of saying “he has a lot of money, so he really only shows up when he feels like it”. Still, the kids at that school have to love seeing him at the batting cages giving tips.

      • hasbeen5 - Apr 10, 2013 at 10:24 AM

        Pretty much. We had a former big leaguer as an assistant for a couple years on my high school team. He’d come out and we’d soak up his knowledge, but he didn’t want the hassle of the management of the team. Probably the same with Boggs.

  4. heyblueyoustink - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    Yeah, well, I want a pony, and a tonka truck, and a replica of Greyskull Castle.

  5. mybrunoblog - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    I would think Roger Clemens number might be retired before Boggs is. I also can’t help think that since both of those players became successful Yankees the Red Sox aren’t too keen on honoring them anytime soon.
    I was at Game 6 1996 WS. When Boggs jumped on that cops horse he became ingrained forever in Yankees lore.

  6. greymares - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:43 AM

    What a dipshit anyone with an ego that allows him to say his # should be retired, should never see that happen during his lifetime. that decision should be made by the organization who know much more about the man than statistics.

  7. largebill - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    I have friends who are Red Sox fans and none remember Boggs fondly. I don’t get it. As a baseball fan I was amazed at his great consistency in the 1980’s. Seemed like he got 200+ hits a year despite being selective enough to draw 100+ walks every year. However, Red Sox fans will argue that Dewey Evans is more deserving of the Hall of Fame. I like Evans and think he is the sort of player the HoF voters don’t appreciate, but no one can objectively argue he has a better case for Cooperstown.

    • carbydrash - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:56 AM

      Not only was Boggs better than Dewey…but a lot (and I love me some Dewey), Boggs was one of the handful of best players in baseball….at times he was the best.

      Despite not starting until 1982, he ranks 2nd in fWAR during the decade of the 1980s. He lead the league in OPS twice and typically lead the league in OBP by comically large amounts. Wade Boggs was *amazing*.

    • skeleteeth - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:04 AM

      I had a special attachment to Boggs when I was younger having seen him play in my home town when the Sox had AA ball in Bristol, CT. He’s the only former Red Sox that truly hurt when he went to NY with Clemens turning out to be such an asshole and Damon being too dumb to care about jumping ship for money or a haircut. But to say Evans is more deserving in any way is completely ridiculous.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:52 AM

        Re-writing history are we? Clemens and boggs were never given a chance to stay with boston so how do you know Clemens didnt hurt when he knew he wasnt coming back? You didnt, so instead you look like the asshole. case closed

      • skeleteeth - Apr 10, 2013 at 10:06 AM

        That was worded poorly. I was talking about myself and Sox fans, not the players hurting. People that I knew at the time were more upset about Boggs than Clemens. Maybe because Boggs went to NY directly after Boston and Clemens had a stopover in Toronto first for a couple years.

        Clemens also let his true self shine through towards the end. I don’t recall Boggs drawing the ire of fans for anything, even despite his off-field antics. Could be because the numbers and hustle were still there (minus ’92) when he left or it could be that I was biased as I was still fairly young.

      • gerryb323 - Apr 10, 2013 at 10:07 AM

        Um, Harry, I think he means that he was hurt when Boggs left but not Clemens. Not that Boggs was hurt and Clemens was not.

    • eatitfanboy - Apr 10, 2013 at 10:21 AM

      Red Sox fans don’t like being reminded that players simply don’t feel the same way about their team as they do. At Cleveland’s opener the other day, the Indians had a special introduction for Travis Hafner and gave him a standing O when he was announced in the Yankees lineup. Do you think they would ever do that in Boston? They resent every single player who left them for the Yankees or anyone else for that matter.

      • sabatimus - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:33 AM

        I guarantee that when Youkilis comes to Fenway in pinstripes, the fans will stand up for him. As for the “boo” versus “Youk”, that’s anyone’s guess.

      • jwbiii - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:49 AM

        Pedro Martinez got a long ovation when he returned to Fenway as a Met, a team that Sox fans have a reason to dislike.

    • sabatimus - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:20 AM

      As far as HOF deserves, Boggs > Dewey >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Rice.

      • 18thstreet - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:02 PM

        I think Evans and Rice have equally legitimate cases for and against their inclusion. And I loved Evans.

  8. royhobbs39 - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    Instead of retiring his number, they should open up a Miller Lite stand and name it after him. Every 50th beer is free.

    • Ryan - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:30 AM

      To those wondering, I’m thinking this is the beer reference. Such an insane story.

      http://blogs.thescore.com/djf/2007/05/25/have-a-wade-boggs-weekend/

  9. DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:47 AM

    “The best pure hitter — not that I’ve never been clear on what people mean when they say that”

    It means he is not a professional hitter ;)

  10. hitdog042 - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:48 AM

    Clemens jersey is retired but his number will never be unless he takes a job with the sox which he won’t do. But they wont ever give 21 out. They just won’t technically retire it. Yet. As for Boggs? Probably 50-50 but I would not hold my breath. Retired numbers in Boston aren’t exactly common place. It’s a joke it’s retired in no tradition Tampa.

    • sdl1 - Apr 10, 2013 at 7:29 PM

      I;d rather they retire #21 for Ray Culp before Clemens…

  11. oldpaddy - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    As my nana would’ve said “Boggs can go fuck himself”
    My nana was a smart lady.
    His beloved devil rays retired his number, what more does he want?

    • pellypell - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:11 AM

      You’re Nana and I would get along.

  12. hushbrother - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    Sorry, Wade, but Brock Holt currently owns number 26.

    Maybe they could do a Phil Esposito/Ray Bourque kind of thing where they retire number 26 for Boggs, and then Brock Holt pulls off his uniform to reveal his new number, 2626.

  13. Kevin S. - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    Does Boston still have that “Hall of Fame and finish career in Boston” rule for retiring numbers? I can see them making an exception for Pedro, but Boggs won’t get it unless they ditch the rule entirely.

    • Robert Dobalina - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:07 AM

      Looks like it’s just HoF and 10 years with the Sox. So Boggs(11 years with the Sox and HoF) is qualified on both counts. Pedro only pitched 7 years, but they should make an exception because those were 7 pretty special years. And since it looks like Clemens might be waiting a loooong time, his # may never be officially retired either.

      http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/bos/history/retired_numbers.jsp

  14. ryanrockzzz - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    He is obviously deserving, but he seems to forget that these things can take time. All it does is ruin his Boston legacy more.

  15. psousa1 - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    At what point in this piece did Boggs say “I want my number retired”? I must have missed it. He was a fantastic hitter. Boggs, Carew, Gwynn were like artists. These were still back in the days where the Boston Baseball media declared class warfare on the players. They had an agenda. The old guard in the Boston media openly rooted against the Red Sox (not that I would want the NYY media that wears cheerleader outfits) and wanted the fans to hate the team as well. It was obvious the media thought they were the celebrities and went out of their minds when a player had any type of success. Outside of Ricky Henderson he was the best leadoff hitter of that era.

  16. paperlions - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    No matter how much you think you deserve an honor, it is unseemly to publicly say so. It is even arrogant to be bitter about other not honoring you. Again, no matter how great you were at something, it is the choice of those doing the honoring to bestow honors and to choose whom to honor….it isn’t the choice of the honoree. The correct response (and feeling) is “It would be a great honor if that happened some day.”, and that’s it.

    • jm91rs - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:15 AM

      I agree with this. I remember a few years ago Kareem Abdul Jabbar went public with his view that the Lakers didn’t appreciate him by giving him a statue outside the arena. It seemed petty to me for one of the greatest NBA players of all time to be begging for recognition. I get the same feeling here, but Kareem did get his statue a few years later, so maybe Boggs is thinking he’ll get the same results.

  17. jm91rs - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    I grew up in Cincinnati, and I really don’t have a single memory of watching Boggs play baseball, yet for some reason he was one of my favorites. I still have 192 Wade Boggs baseball cards in my collection (I counted them the other night while showing them to my son). For some reason I was obsessed with his cards, I probably traded cards that were far more valuable for some random Boggs cards.

    Sorry, I just went back to 1995 in my head.

  18. hushbrother - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    My guess is the Red Sox have considered retiring his number, but being the PR savvy team they are, have taken some measure of public opinion about it and concluded that there are still enough knuckleheads out there who can’t get past the Yankees/horse riding thing and consider him a traitor, who might mar the event with a chorus of boos and insulting signs (“HEY WADE, HOW’S MARGO?”) Once their polling data tells them otherwise, Wade will get his due.

  19. nesuperfan - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:13 AM

    I think a lot of it was that he seems like a dick back then, and he didn’t just leave for any old team, he left for the Yankees. Clearly, the MLB HOF is based totally on performance, but getting your number retired from a team, goes beyond that, and includes things they know about you, and how you interacted with that team.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:55 AM

      Once again Boggs didnt leave because he wanted to, he wasnt not offered a contract and HAD to go somewhere else. Gotta love the people who think they actually know what they are talking about here. Bottom line Clemens and Boggs were two of the best ever and should both have their numbers retired years ago

      • gerryb323 - Apr 10, 2013 at 10:23 AM

        I think the prevailing thoughts in the hub are that they don’t care if you chose to leave or had to leave, but just don’t choose the Yanks!

  20. lyon810 - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:17 AM

    Whatever happened to humility?

    • Gobias Industries - Apr 10, 2013 at 10:01 AM

      Exactly. I’m the most humble person I know which means I’m awesome and better than any of you bastards.

      • jwbiii - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:51 PM

        I bet you’d kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

  21. titknocker - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    If they retire #26 for anybody it will be for “The Pride of Framingham” Lou Merloni!!

  22. takavl - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    Hopefully Margo Adams can just “will” him invisible…

  23. eatitfanboy - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    Stories like this always drive me crazy. Who has time to care about all this crap? Your accomplishments speak for themselves, you’ve a got a world series ring, you’re in the Hall of Fame, and you can afford to hang out in Florida as an assistant coach of a high school baseball team. Life is good, Wade, let it go.

    • albertmn - Apr 10, 2013 at 10:44 AM

      I think you answered your own question. Retired baseball players (at least those that played long enough to get a lot of money) have time to care. What else does he have to do? He is probably stuck living in the past, and doesn’t want anyone else to forget it either.

  24. sdelmonte - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    I’m still waiting for the Mets to retire Gary Carter’s number, and he was beloved. There are factors that come into play that we just don’t get.

    • mybrunoblog - Apr 10, 2013 at 10:33 AM

      Im a Yankee fan. I would hope the Mets don’t become what the Yankees have become by retiring guys nmbers out of sentimentality rather than common sense. Reggie Jackson, Billy Martin, Ron Guidry and maybe 1 or 2 others have NO business having their numbers retired. It’s just silly now they they are considering retiring Paul Oniells and Jorge Posada number. Ridiculous.
      Mets have done it right. Seaver, Hodges, and Stengal. Well done.

      • sdelmonte - Apr 10, 2013 at 10:47 AM

        Fair point, I only suggest Carter because his both in the Hall and has a ring with the Mets. Otherwise, I would push for Hernandez and Piazza.

    • paperlions - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      Could one factor be that he was only there for 5 years and played in fewer than 600 games as a Met?

      Beltran, Reyes, Hernandez, and Piazza each played in far more games and were far more productive than Carter as Mets. The only reason to retire Carter’s number would be sentimentality because of his sad early loss. Not sure that is a good road for teams to travel down.

  25. randygnyc - Apr 10, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    How/why isn’t Gary Carter’s number retired? I expect the the fumbling met front office fix that this year, although its now too late, IMO.

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