Almost ten years after his 2005 induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, Wade Boggs will finally have his number 26 retired at Fenway Park this coming May.
Carlton Fisk’s 27 was retired just over a month after his induction in 2000. Jim Rice’s 14 went up in the right field facade a week after his induction in 2009. Most recently, the Red Sox retired Pedro Martinez’s 45 a mere three days after his humorous induction speech in Cooperstown.
The Red Sox have always been a franchise that held slight grudges. Just look at the Doug Mientkiewicz World Series winning baseball fiasco in 2004. Boggs seems to fit in this category.
With the Red Sox from his rookie year in 1982 until 1992, Boggs hit .338 with an OBP of .428 and eight All-Star appearances. In four consecutive years from 1983-1989, Boggs led the league in OBP and in his career with Boston he had over 2,000 of his 3,010 career hits. Needless to say, Boggs was one of the best hitters in Red Sox history and the best third baseman in Red Sox history (sorry Shea Hillenbrand).
The turmoil between Boggs and the Red Sox came in 1992 when he left Boston to become a part of the New York Yankees organization and the Steinbrenner regime.
In Boggs last season with the Red Sox in 1992, he hit a career low of .259 and at the end of the year he signed with New York where he went back to his old ways and hit over .300 each season. In 1996 Boggs won the World Series with the Yankees and the infamous picture of him riding on the police horse was forever etched into the memories of Red Sox fans who still had never seen their team win a World Series. Boggs was officially a traitor.
Fast forward to 2015. The Red Sox, despite recent disappointing seasons, are a different franchise and have three World Series Championships under their belt. Larry Lucchino has left town. It was time to finally honor one of baseball’s legends despite criticisms of his commitment to the Red Sox.
I was in attendance as an eight-year old when Fisk’s number was retired. I was in attendance when Pedro’s number was retired this past season. And I will be in attendance on May 26th when Boggs’ number is finally where it belongs at Fenway.
Also, it would be neglectful to not mention the most legendary Wade Boggs story in a blog post about the Chicken Man.