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Baseball Told the Right WayIn-depth Baseball analysis on various topics regarding the sport we all love!
This world needs teachers, not heroes.
I grew up to Wade Boggs. I loved the guy. Check out his stats.
The man hit over .300 in all but three of his eighteen seasons. He was a doubles machine. He was a career .328 hitter, and hit .301 at the tender age of 41. He could probablly still hit about .270, and he'd probablly still be one of the best hitters on the Devil Rays.
Boggs sprayed line drives all over Fenway, including the left field grandstand, where I used to sit before tickets cost more than my car. For those who were so unlucky as to not see Boggs play, he used to do something that nobody else in baseball could do, or even tried to do.
Boggs was one of the most patient hitters in the history of baseball. He was as patient as Ted Williams, Rickey Henderson, Barry Bonds. But Boggs did something none of them tried. If Boggs didn't like a pitch, but that pitch was still a strike or close enough to risk a called strike three, Boggs would check his swing, and foul the ball off into the left field grandstand. On purpose. Then, more times than not, on the very next pitch, he would either line a single into left-center, or EARN himself a walk.
Wade Boggs was practically inhuman at that. I've never seen anybody else do what Wade Boggs did with a baseball bat. Maybe some old buck can point out some player from the 50's who did what Boggs did, but if Mark Bellhorn could control the strike zone like Wade Boggs, he would be a modern day Babe Ruth.
I love Boggs so much, I don't even mind throwing up a picture of him in the Yankee pinstripes.
I'm proud of my boy. He deserved a ring.
Not only was Wade Boggs fun to watch, he made life interesting for the Boston media while he was at it.
Most people know that Boggs had several scandals involving his wife, his mistress, or his wife's mistress, I lost track. Less people know that Wade Boggs ate chicken every single day of his life. Even less people might know that Boggs warmed up on the sideline by throwing a knuckleball with a teammate, and his entire career he claimed that when he wasn't able to hit, he would come back as a knuckleball pitcher. Too bad you can still hit Wade, it would have been fun to watch.
Boggs also kept track of his batting average with a calculator in the dugout, after every at bat, and much to the disdain of his teammates. Boggs' teammates never liked him. When I realized this, it did something to my baseball fandom. Remember, I loved Wade Boggs. I collected all of his cards (notice the vintage 1987 Topps on the left). I was young and impressionable, and I thought of Boggs as some kind of a hero.
I could care less that Boggs had a girl on the side. Hell, I wanted a girl on the side. It did seem a little strange that Boggs ate chicken every day. I let it slide though, this world takes all kinds.
Learning that Boggs' was hated by his teammates, however, hit me much like the movie Trainspotting hit me. Not only have I learned that heroin ain't my thing, but I now know that atheletes are not to be looked up to.
So Wade Boggs introduced me to a world absent of heroes. It was shocking at first, but over time, it has come to comfort me. This world doesn't need heroes, it needs teachers.
Wade Boggs was a great teacher.
I wanted to hit just like him. I taught myself to hit the ball the other way, which I got real good at. I taught myself to hit line drives unless the situation called for a home run, when I would, just like Boggs. I even tried to teach myself to check swing and spoil a pitch to get a better one. I tried that, but failed miserably.
Last, but the opposite of least, I tried to learn to throw a knuckleball (with varying degree of success, depending on the weather). Just like my hero-turned-teacher Wade Boggs.
See his B-ref page again. Check out that career 3.86 ERA. Not many Hall of Fame hitters this side of Babe Ruth can claim that.
Yeah, Tim Wakefield may be my favorite active ballplayer (again, see blatant photo on left), but long before Timmy Ballgame put on The Uniform in '95, Wade Boggs had already been teaching me about the game of Baseball for years.