Lots of stuff going on in the sports world. The draft, Jordan Hill allegedly choked someone, Nets got a new city and logo, Amare lost his cool, Rondo lost his cool, but I want to talk about one of my favorite sports stories ever, Wade Boggs.
I’m guessing around 5 years ago (maybe more) I was hanging out with some of my good friends, and one of them said to me, “Pass me a Boggs.” Me, confused, replied with a “What the hell is a Boggs?” My friend Mike, who is probably the best storyteller I know, proceded to tell me the following story about Wade Boggs that is kind of amazing.
I’m not sure the cold hard facts (pun on purpose), but there has to be some truth to it. The short version is that on a cross country flight, perhaps from New Jersey to Seattle with a stop-over in North Dakota, Boggs drank ~60 Miller Lites. Now I’m not here to advocate binge drinking, I don’t get it. This also isn’t the one guy you knew in college that bought a case just to see if he could drink it all in a day. This man was on a road trip to play a baseball series across the country. What I think I like best about this story is the nonchalance of it all. This is an excerpt from the Chicago Sun-Times (the link above):
I’m not kidding you Steve. Seriously. Wade was the kind of guy who was always the first one at the club house. So he’d get to the clubhouse, and he’d bring a six pack with him. He’d be there drinking a beer when someone showed up, and as we were all packing our stuff up out of our lockers and getting our bags ready for the trip, Wade would sit there and drink that whole six pack.
Now, at the time, we were flying out of New Jersey, so it was somewhat of a drive from Yankee stadium to the airport in New Jersey. Wade would drink another couple of beers on the bus to the airport. At the time, we were flying this older airplane, it couldn’t make it across the country without refueling, and it wasn’t the fastest airplane in the sky. So we would stop in North Dakota or something. Wade would drink about a half rack between New Jersey and North Dakota, and it would take about a half-hour to an hour to refuel once we got there, so he’d have a few more beers while we were grounded in North Dakota.
Once we got back up in the air, Wade would drink another 10, 11, 12 beers on the way out to the west coast. The whole flight from coast to coast ususally took us well over 7 hours. We’d touch down at Sea-Tac, hop on the bus headed to the Kingdome, and Wade would have another beer or two on the bus. Then, all of us would get to the Kingdome and unpack our bags and sit around and BS with eachother, and Wade would have a beer in his hand the entire time. He was always one of the last people to leave the club house too. So I’d say that all in all, he drank over 50 beers on the trip, and this wasn’t just an isolated incident, he did that almost every time.
Naturally, once this story got some traction Boggs was asked by Tony Kornheiser of PTI about the incident:
Here also is a Boggs story concerning an encounter at a fishing tournament that only adds to the fact that I’d like to knock back a few with WB.
Boggs also pitched a shutout inning against the Angels in 1997, throwing mostly a knuckleball.
Finally, from Wikipedia:
Boggs was known for his superstitions. He ate chicken before every game (Jim Rice once called Boggs “chicken man”), woke up at the same time every day, took exactly 100 ground balls in practice, took batting practice at 5:17, and ran sprints at 7:17. His route to and from his position in the field beat a path to the home dugout. He drew the Hebrew word “Chai”, meaning “life”, in the batter’s box before each at-bat, though he is not Jewish. He asked Fenway Park public address announcer Sherm Feller not to say his uniform number when he introduced him because Boggs once broke out of a slump on a day when Feller forgot to announce his number.
Boggs was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2005. He played for the Red Sox (’82-’92), Yankees(’93’-’97), and the Devil Rays(’98-’99). Here’s to you Wade Boggs, an American hero.