Red Sox legend Wade Boggs: ‘I’m back where I should be’


Boston Red Sox legend Wade Boggs discusses the honor of having his number retired at Fenway Park.

Wade Boggs is coming back home to the organization that he started his career with.

The Boston Red Sox announced earlier this week that they plan to retire Boggs’ No. 26 during a ceremony at Fenway Park next May. The following day the Hall of Fame third baseman joined the OM&F show on WEEI radio to discuss what an honor it was to receive the call from Red Sox president Sam Kennedy and chairman Tom Werner.

"“I couldn’t say thank you enough,” said Boggs. “It was something that the eyes filled up with tears and just thinking back to my induction to the Hall of Fame that my dad would have really liked to look up there and see my number next to Ted [Williams]. That was the thing that ran through my mind. On May 26, him and my mom will have the best seat in the house. They will be looking down and it will be a very proud day for my family.”"

Boggs was selected to eight All-Star appearances during his eleven years with the Red Sox. He has played more games at third base than anyone in franchise history and the .338 average that he compiled during his time in Boston is second only to the great Teddy Ballgame in franchise history. Over the span of those eight years in Boston he led the league in batting average, hits, doubles, OBP, walks and OPS, yet despite those stellar accomplishments it still came as a bit of a surprise to him when he found out that the Red Sox were going to retire his number.

"“It was out of the blue,” recalls Boggs. “The thing about having your number retired, it’s not something that comes along everyday. It’s not really required, even if you make the Hall of Fame. It’s up to an organization and like I said countless times, that it’s the greatest honor an athlete can have is to have his number retired. That way you get to live on in immortality.”"

His Hall of Fame induction was a decade ago, but it has taken the Red Sox this long to honor him despite retiring the numbers of Jim Rice and Pedro Martinez in recent years, both of whom went into the Hall after Boggs did.

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Part of that may be due to the bitterness of his departure, when Boggs left Boston to join the rival New York Yankees following the ’92 season. The franchise has also stubbornly kept to unwritten rules outlined by the previous ownership group that dictate criteria that players need to meet in order for their numbers to be retired. By retiring Boggs’ number, the Red Sox are finally showing a willingness to honor greatness regardless of where they ended their careers.

"“Now I [get] to come back home,” said Boggs. “That is where I started by career. I was drafted at 17. Five and a half years in the minor leagues and trying to prove to the Red Sox that I’m good enough to be in the big leagues. Then every year proving myself year in and year out and then coming to the realization that a team doesn’t want you. I couldn’t disagree with it because there was nothing I could do. I had to go find a job elsewhere. Now getting back into the family and back into the fold and everything like that. I’m back where I should be.”"

With the retiring of his number at Fenway, Bogg’s career comes full circle. He may not have left Boston on the best of terms as a player, but time heals all wounds. As a Hall of Famer, the franchise is finally ready to welcome him back with open arms.

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