On May 26th the Red Sox will honor the greatest player to ever man the hot corner at Fenway Park: Wade Boggs. The “Chicken Man,” as he is affectionately nicknamed, will have his number 26 retired and it will forever grace the porch in right field. Being the huge Boggs fan that I am, I have already purchased two tickets to this event even though the Sox will host the lowly Rockies.
I love baseball for many reasons but the stars of my youth and their gregarious personalities have influenced that more than anything. From Pedro Martinez’s hilarious and self-deprecating humor off the field and his bulldog demeanor on the mound to the outgoing nature and swagger of David Ortiz there has never been a shortage of these on Yawkey Way. Boggs is no exception and it seems that the longer he’s away from the game the more his legend continues to grow.
With no way to truly do the man justice — and with Bryan Grosnick having already summer up his career – I thought it would be best to give the namesake of my long-time dynasty league team his due with 26 “facts” about his life and playing career. I say facts loosely because some stories are legend but a few common themes unite them all: Beer. Chicken. Any yes many many hits.
- Wade Boggs accumulated 88.3 fWAR over the course of his 18-year playing career, which ranks fourth all-time amongst third basemen behind Eddie Matthews, Mike Schmidt and Alex Rodriguez.
- 70.8 of his fWAR was accumulated in his first 11 seasons, all with the Red Sox.
- His 70.8 fWAR ranks him third all-time for fWAR accumulated while in a Red Sox uniform, only behind Carl Yastrzemski at 94.8 and Ted Williams at 130.4.
- Legend has it that Boggs once consumed 64 beers on a cross-country flight from Boston to Los Angeles. While the number is disputed, the beer of choice is not.
- Wade Boggs drinks but one beer, none other than Miller Lite.
- Known for his affection for chicken, Boggs tried his hand at sharing his favorite chicken recipes with all of us in his little-known recipe book and only known foray into writing Foul Tips: My Favorite Chicken Recipes—it is spiral bound.
- Throughout his 1,625 games with the Red Sox, Boggs slashed .328/.428/.462. His OBP ranked behind only Jimmie Foxx at .429 and Ted Williams at .482.
- Boggs finished his playing career with 3,010 hits, a fact which he honors with his excellent twitter handle @ChickenMan3010.
- Boggs won five American League batting titles over his career, in 1983 and from 1985-1988. All of these were won in a Red Sox uniform.
- In 2005, Boggs was selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame with 91.9% of the vote in his first year eligible.
- Boggs was an 11-Time All-Star with eight of his selections coming while wearing a Red Sox uniform.
- While he never won a World Series with the Red Sox he did reach one in 1986.
- When Boggs did win a World Series with the hated Yankees in 1996 he celebrated by riding on a police officer’s horse.
- The number of beers consumed by Boggs is still very much up for debate. However former teammate Jeff Nelson is on the record saying “50-60 beers was not just an isolated incident but was something he did on almost every cross country flight.”
- Boggs led the American League in OBP six-times, in 1983 and from 1985-1989.
- In 1987 and 1988 he also led the American League in OPS.
- 200+ hit seasons are very hard to come by, but Boggs had seven such seasons with the Red Sox.
- As good as he was with the bat, Boggs was no slouch defensively, winning two golden gloves late in his career in 1994 and 1995.
- While filming an appearance on my favorite comedy show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” Boggs reportedly told Charlie Day that the actual number of beers he drank on the flight was a staggering 107. Day shared this fact with the world on the Jimmy Fallon Show.
- From 1986-1988 Wade Boggs led the American League in fWAR amongst position players. His marks were 7.7, 8.9, and 8.6.
- During this impressive stretch Boggs also put up an fWAR of 8.8 in 1985, but was unable to best the mark of 9.7 set by Ricky Henderson.
- While he wasn’t considered a power hitter by any stretch of the imagination, Boggs could hit doubles. He had 40 or more doubles eight times over his career with the Red Sox.
- Do you like Silver Slugger awards? Boggs has eight of them, six while playing for the Red Sox.
- His .338 career batting average with the Red Sox is second only to the great Ted Williams.
- Over his time with the Red Sox, Boggs led the MLB in batting average, hits, doubles and on base percentage.
- From May 26th forward no player will ever again wear a number 26 Red Sox jersey. Boston fans will ALWAYS remember Boggs for what he did on the field while with Boston and we will cheer him on this year when his number 26 is retired in the place where he delivered the best moments of his storied career.Photo by Gregory Fisher/USA Today Sports Images
3 comments on “26 Facts About No. 26: Wade Boggs”
Let me add a few more for you.
27. Boggs was originally a switch hitter, giving it up in 1978.
28. As a high schooler in Tampa, Boggs received college football scholarship offers as a left-footed kicker.
29. Prior to his rookie season (1982) any team in baseball could have signed Boggs for the waiver price of $25,000. All passed.
This is awesome stuff! Thanks for adding these in. Its absolutely mind blowing that every team other than the Sox passed on him.
The left-footed kicker thing is funny, he could have ended up on a Belichick special teams unit with that skill.
Long Live The Chicken Man
Jake, I had the great pleasure of covering Boggs when he played at Bristol in 1979 (I was with the now-defunct Bristol Press). It was amazing to me then, and even more now, how little the Red Sox seemed to think of him.
Part of it was his defense, I’m sure. Another was that he was a singles hitter playing a power position. But like lots of teams, the Sox didn’t seem to value his on-base skills.
Their 3B at the time was Butch Hobson, who never met a pitch he wouldn’t chase.
Boggs only hit below .300 in his first minor-league half-season, but he still had to spend two years at Double A and two at Pawtucket, even though he was one of the top hitters in the league each year.
Boston kept him only because he was out of options and no one claimed him. Then, Carney Lansford got hurt, Wade stepped in and batted .349 and never looked back.