I had tremendous respect for Wade Boggs as a ballplayer growing up. Remember, I'm in my 40's, and Boggs was a Yankee killer in Boston when I was a kid. And you know what? I hated him. I really did. That being said... I respected him immensely. I even went as far as sending him a baseball card for him to sign, and you know what? He signed it for me.
For me, a Yankee fan, a Red Sox hater, even I was impressed, and so, from that day on, I had to sit back and watch Boggs get hitting titles, exchanging them with Don Mattingly on occasion, but bottom line, he was damn good even though the Red Sox didn't win anything in the 80's and I kind of liked the guy, except for when he was playing the Yankees of course.
When Boggs came to the Yankees to play 3rd with Mattingly already on the club, I gotta tell you, it was awesome to see and I really appreciated how 2 competitors from rival teams could come together and slowly help build a dynasty in the Bronx. My only regret was that Donnie was no longer active when Boggs and the Yankees won the whole thing finally in 1996.
I wrote a piece about Boggs a while back about how I didn't like the way the Red Sox treated him after he came to the Yanks, and then to the Rays to get 3ooo hits. Read THE RED SOX MUST HAVE BLACKBALLED WADE BOGGS. In it, I wrote:
"In a nutshell, he's pissed, although, he claims he's not bitter anymore, but instead he seems confused and you know what? I get it. You see, the Boston Red Sox have never retired him number 26. Hard to believe, considering Boggs is a Hall of Famer...He did some great things in Boston including batting .338 in 11 years and 5 batting titles. Still, they have not retired his number."
That was written in 2013. Today, it was revealed that the Red Sox will finally retire #26 in 2016. I gotta tell you, retiring Boggs #12 in the Bronx doesn't make much sense to me. Retiring #26 in Boston makes a ton of sense and I'm not gonna lie, I love the idea and I applaud the Sox for doing it finally. I know, you just fell over. What can I say, I'm a student of the game and love great players.
But not everyone likes the idea. #BYBHub charter member Section 36 wrote this of Boggs in a recent piece:
"Retiring a player's number is an enormous honor. It's basically saying that the player was so important to the team, so iconic that you just can't imagine anyone else wearing the same number as he did...If Wes Chamberlain was given the number just a couple years after Boggs left, it doesn't exactly fit the "can't imagine anyone else wearing the number" criteria does it?
So, how can the Sox now decide that Wade Boggs was such an icon in #26 that it should be retired for him?
But I disagree, they certainly can. Look, 2 things here. The Yankees made that fatal mistake with Paul O'Neill's #21.
They gave it to LaTroy Hawkins, and Yankeeland went crazy. Then, it was clear someone in the tunnels of Yankee Stadium got an earful. With that, Hawkins changed his number. Sometimes you don't mess with the classics, and the Yankees made a mistake there.
But think about the story I just wrote about involving Boggs and the fierce rivalry. The Rivalry in the 1980's was just as passionate and angry between the Sox and Yankees than it was in the early 2000's. It was a battle every time, and when Boggs went to the Yankees, it was like he cheated on the Sox. It was terrible for Boston and they were angry. Then, to make matters worse... he won in New York.
Talk about a knife in the heart of Boston brass. It's a betrayal. It was the worst possible thing you could do to not only the Boston fans, but to the team... and so, for years, Boston held a grudge. That's it... that's the bottom line. I gotta tell ya, if I'm a Boston fan at that time, I hate him more than anything. You see what I mean?
But now, years later, the smoke has cleared. Boggs has been retired for years, he's a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, an honor he deserves, and most importantly, the time is now to have his number retired. Wade Boggs needs to have his number retired in Boston. Not only does it sell a few extra tickets, because yes, baseball is a business, but it's the right thing to do.
I appreciate what Boston's doing here. No, I'm not a Red Sox fan... but I am a fan of Wade Boggs. He deserves this honor in Boston, and the time is now... good for him.
Congrats to Boggs. Way to go bro!
Shout out to Section 36... great piece today!
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