Its been over 20 years, and I'm still fascinated with Wade Boggs. There will be long periods of time where I will forget about the man, but he always gives me reasons to come back for more.
I'd probably say the first time Boggs stood out to me was at 7 years old, when my beloved Metsies triumphed over the Red Sox to win the 1986 championship. The image of Boggs sobbing in the dugout stuck with me well through adolescence. That may have been the first time i'd seen a grown man cry.
It was only one year later that a baseball card shop opened near my cousin's house. This was during the baseball card boom, when stores were popping up everywhere, only to be closed within a few years. I went with my cousin to the grand opening of the store, and for no logical reason that i can think of, they were selling the 1987 Topps Wade Boggs card for $15. No, it wasn't his rookie card, and no, it wasn't some sort of rare error card. It was the regular 1987 Topps card. This was the only store anywhere in the tri-state area that was even selling the card for more than $1.25. And it was also the most expensive card from that set at that store. It made absolutely no sense. Wade himself had nothing to do with this event, but it only further helped his legend.
Who could ever forget Boggs' appearance in an episode of Cheers, which just happens to be my favorite show of all time? The appearance was in 1988. Over time, i've come to realize how absolutely ridiculous this appearance was. At the end of said episode, Boggs comes into the place where everyone knows your name, and orders a beer. I believe he was sent to Cheers by rival Gary from Gary's Olde Towne Tavern. This was a Bar Wars episode, in which both bars play insane pranks on eachother. Thinking this is another one of Gary's pranks, Cheers patrons are convinced that this Wade Boggs is a FAKE Wade Boggs. So they start mocking, saying his name funny "okay, WADE BOGGS!!!", and proceed to chase Boggs out of the bar. At a young age, i didn't think much of this, and maybe in the late-80s, people didn't make much of this, but i now see this much differently. The guys in Cheers were supposed to be HUGE Red Sox fans. If Wade Boggs walks in to the bar, they should know for sure that its really him. If Carlos Delgado or David Wright walked into a room i'm in, i'll know in a SECOND if its really him or not. The whole scene is just bizarre.
A few years later, i learned of Boggs' insane superstitions. The man ate chicken at the exact same time every day before games. He's more or less the posterboy of the ridiculous superstitiousness of baseball players. What a freak!!!
I was quite pleased when i learned of the fact that Boggs is a HUGE wrestling fan. He's actually been shown on TV several times in the crowds at wrestling events, just cheering like a buffoon. Too add a whip cream topping to this story, he was actually the presenter of the HOF induction of "Mr Perfect" Curt Hennig. Apparently the both of them were great friends. Is anyone cooler than this guy???
He's also a HUGE drinker. I've read that he can basically outdrink anyone. Find the person you know, that drinks the most, and Boggs will run circles around him.
And, finally, and this is what prompted me to write this article, is the hair replacement commercial he's recently been shown in. The man is a worldwide respected athlete with a great reputation, and he's not scared to show his before and after pics from his hair replacement surgery. Thats confidence, people.
Wade Boggs - Heavy drinker, huge wrestling fan, former bald guy, not afraid to cry in public, former patron of Cheers. You're a rare breed, Mr. Boggs, and i wish there were more like you.