Former Red Sox slugger Wade Boggs returned to the Bay State last weekend talking about two of his favorite pastimes — baseball and beer. The Major League Hall of Famer made the rounds traveling throughout New England to promote Miller High Life.
Former Red Sox slugger Wade Boggs returned to the Bay State last weekend talking about two of his favorite pastimes — baseball and beer. The Major League Baseball Hall of Famer made the rounds traveling throughout New England to promote Miller High Life.
The “Chicken Man” arrived at Kappy’s Liquor in Wellington Circle on Saturday, and he spent more than an hour meeting about 400 fans. He then headed up the road to Kappy’s on Route 1 in Malden, where he met about 200 more fans, before landing in Lowell to take in a Spinners game.The trip brought back plenty of memories for the famed slugger.
“It’s been great,” said Boggs, who just turned 51 June 15. “It’s nice to see the New England faces again. I lived in the Granada Highlands over here in Malden and Saugus, so I’ve seen a few people I used to bump into at the grocery store every once in awhile.”
A 12-time All-Star third baseman, Boggs played for the Red Sox for 11 seasons, from 1982-92. The left-handed hitter, who had a penchant for eating chicken on game days, won five batting titles starting in 1983. Boggs hit below .349 only once, from 1982-88, with his average "dipping" to .325 in 1984.
From 1983-89, Boggs rattled off seven consecutive seasons in which he collected 200 or more hits, an American League record for consecutive 200-hit seasons that was later matched by Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki.
Boggs went on to play five seasons with the New York Yankees from 1993-97, capturing his only World Series championship in 1996. He finished up his career with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays before retiring after the 1999 season.
Although he traded in his red socks for Yankee pinstripes in 1993, Boston fans were nothing but cordial during his visit.
Boggs met with fans, signed autographs, posed for photos and talked baseball, while celebrating Miller High Life Extras, a loyalty program that allows legal-drinking-age consumers to earn exclusive baseball-themed, High Life merchandise.
“The response has been super for the Miller High Life program and the Dugout Wisdom books that we’re doingfor the scouts,” Boggs said. “From Rhode Island to New Hampshire, it’s been just a great reception.”Meeting Wade
Medford resident Miles Clerkin was among the first in line to meet the Red Sox legend, showing up an hour early.
“I love the Red Sox,” said Clerkin, 26, a Third Street resident. “When I was a kid I read 'Boggs,' his autobiography. I liked the way he played third base. He always hit and he’s just someone that I looked up to when I was playing baseball as a kid. I usually played third base.”
Boggs signed a number of items for fans ranging from baseball cards, bats and balls to glossy photos.
Among the more unique items Boggs autographed were actual bricks taken from Fenway Park and game jerseys from the Medford-based softball team the Daly Boggs.
Established in 2008, the Daly Boggs are a group of Arlington Catholic alumni, who named their team after pro golfer John Daly and Boggs.
“Seeing Boggs has been a dream of mine since I have been a kid,” said Vince Rinaldi, the Daly Boggs team captain.
The team finished its inaugural season in last place at 4-15-1 in the Medford Men’s Softball League. They are currently 3-7 in its second year playing their home games at Tufts. Meeting their namesake was an opportunity the players weren’t about to pass up.“The guy is a legend on and off the field,” said Joe Piekos.
Representing the Daly Boggs were Rinaldi, Piekos, Eubanks King and Jim Rabbitt, all of Medford, Heddo McCollem and Josh Wallace of Somerville, Tom Guanci of Arlington and Mike Mancuso of Woburn. They were all hoping a little bit of Wade’s magic would rub off on them.
“We’re looking to rebound this year,” Rabbitt said. “Hopefully, seeing Wade Boggs will rejuvenate the team. It’s been quite the experience for us, and we feel like we can make a run at the championship now that we have a signed bat from him.”
Boggs was almost at a loss for words when he heard about the team that was named after him.“Oh my God,” he laughed. “It’s good to be immortalized.”
According to Rabbitt, plans are already under way to mail Boggs an autographed team jersey as a token of their appreciation.The man, the myth, the legend
A legendary hitter, Boggs was also no stranger to tabloid fodder. Among his infamous off-field antics included a much publicized fling with Margo Adams, getting run over by his wife, Debbie, after accidentally falling out of his jeep, as well as a time when he once claimed to will himself invisible to escape from a knife fight at a Florida nightclub.
Another dubious distinction of the slugger’s past surfaced last year, when two of his former teammates alleged that Boggs once drank 64 beers during a cross-country flight. But No. 26 claims that those rumors have been greatly exaggerated.
“No,” said Boggs, when asked if the legend was true. “It was just one of those things that happened quite a few years ago in the mid-80s and it’s grown legs.”
Although he admits to having a few brews during his playing days, one thing Boggs isn’t a fan of is steroids and the players who use them.
“If you do steroids, you’re cheating,” Boggs said. “And not only are you cheating yourself, you’re cheating your fans, you’re cheating you family, you’re cheating the owners and there is no place for it in baseball.”
“Actually, the steroid era is in my opinion a cop out,” he added. “If there are 104 guys that were tested positive in 2003, then that was a problem. Now [Major League Baseball Commissioner] Bud Selig has really worked the program substantially to clean it up, and that’s what the game needed. And for guys that use steroids, there’s no place in the Hall of Fame for them.”
But the Chicken Man is in Cooperstown, inducted in 2005, as a legendary classic hitter, who knew no bounds on and off the field.