Wade Boggs was one of the most beloved members of the Boston Red Sox during the 1980s. Despite being a superb hitter, he was also known for his curiosities on and off the field. His legendary career has granted him a spot in the baseball Hall-of-Fame and a World Series ring. Let's look back at Wade Boggs and his amazing career.
Boggs played in the longest game in professional baseball history in the Minor Leagues before being called up to MLB by the Boston Red Sox. The lefty Boggs was known as a calm and collective hitter from the start. He batted .349 in his rookie season and would have won the batting title, but his 121 plate appearances were short of the required minimum of 502. From 1982 to 1988, Boggs hit below .349 only once, and won the American League batting title 5 times in that time span. From 1983 to 1989, Boggs rattled off seven consecutive seasons in which he collected 200 or more hits, an American League record for most consecutive 200-hit seasons that would later be broken by Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki. In 1986, Boggs led the Sox to the World Series but would lose in 7 games to the New York Mets. The photo of him fighting back tears after the World Series loss to the Mets still resonates in the hearts of Red Sox fans everywhere.
After 10 seasons with the Red Sox, he left Boston and became a free-agent. He was heavily pursued by two teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees. Boston's infamous arch-rival, the Yankees, would win the bidding and Boggs became a Yankee. Wade Boggs went on to be awarded three straight all-star appearances, had four straight .300+ seasons, and even collected two Golden Glove Awards for his defense with the Yankees. In 1996, Boggs helped the Yankees to their first World Series title in 18 years. Boggs' sharp eye and patience at the plate were vital in the Yankees run to the title. After the Yankees won the series in 6 games, Boggs memorably celebrated by jumping on the back of a NYPD horse, touring the field with his index finger in the air, despite his self-professed fear of horses.
Boggs ended his career with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays where he played his final two seasons. In 1999, he collected his 3,000th hit by hitting a home run. Boggs is one of only two players whose 3,000th hit was a home run, and was the sole player until Derek Jeter later hit his on July 9, 2011. Boggs retired in 1999 after sustaining a knee injury, leaving the game with a career batting average of .328 and 3,010 career hits.
Wade Boggs was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005, wearing a Boston Red Sox cap on his plaque.