Wade Boggs has his number (26) retired
ON THIS DATE (May 26, 2016) ... The Red Sox retired Wade Boggs's No. 26. Capping a week awash in memory and nostalgia, the Sox paid tribute to their Hall of Fame third baseman before the game against the Colorado Rockies.
It's easy to make the case for Boggs's digit on the right-field facade alongside those of Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, and other Red Sox greats. Boggs is the 10th player to have his number retired by the Sox (Jackie Robinson's 42 is retired throughout major league baseball). Yaz made a rare Fenway appearance to honor Boggs Thursday, as did Claudia Williams, daughter of You Know Who.
"This is the greatest day of my life," Boggs told the Fenway sellout. "I'm glad that I've come back home. Boston will forever live in my heart. Boston Strong!"
In 11 seasons with Boston, Boggs hit .338, second only to Teddy Ballgame's .344. Wade ranks in the club's all-time top five in hits, doubles, walks, and on-base percentage. He won five batting titles and had 200 or more hits in seven consecutive seasons. He scored 100 or more runs in seven straight seasons. He recorded his 3,000th hit with Tampa Bay in 1999, and was enshrined in Cooperstown in 2005.
He wore his Hall of Fame ring Thursday. When the 1986 Sox were honored Wednesday, Boggs wore his 1996 Yankee championship ring, which created a small stir with social media folks.
In addition to his impressive numbers, Boggs goes down as one of the most colorful characters in Red Sox history. He's in the Sox pantheon of goofy stunts and punditry, alongside Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, Oil Can Boyd, Bill Lee, Jimmy Piersall, and Babe Ruth.
Boggs was a lively quote and a constant newsmaker. Only Wade could look you straight in the eye and tell you that he once willed himself invisible to escape from a parking lot knife fight. Only Wade could insist that he ate chicken three times a day, 365 days a year. Only Wade could get run over by his wife in the family Jeep while leaving the famed Christy's Restaurant in Winter Haven, Fla.
Some critics thought he was all about numbers and didn't care enough about winning. How then do you explain the unforgettable sight of Boggs weeping in the Shea Stadium third base dugout moments after the Sox' 8-5 loss in the seventh game of the 1986 World Series?
Despite his accomplishments here, Sox management sometimes has appeared to be trying to will Boggs invisible. Roger Clemens left Boston in a huff, won a World Series with the Yankees, but his No. 21 has never been issued to another player. The Sox have given Boggs's No. 26 to a million guys, even Lou Merloni (Sox numbers 1, 4, 6, and 27 were also re-issued before they were "retired.") For years there was a "legends" canvas outside the Sox clubhouse in Fort Myers featuring images of all-time Sox greats. For years, Boggs was excluded while the Sox celebrated good players such as Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield.
Perfect Wade Boggs there. He always produced and he always knew the numbers. Finally, he has taken his rightful place on the right-field facade at Fenway and he appreciates it probably more than any of them.