Top 100 Yankees of All-Time...#91, Wade Boggs

Wade Boggs joined the Yankees in 1993 as part of the New Yankees' renaissance. The five-time batting champion was converted from the enemy, the Boston Red Sox, and signed with the rebuilding Yankees. Boggs' presence solidified the lineup and the quirky third baseman lead the Yankees back to a World Championship. For this and many other reasons, Wade Boggs is our Greatest Yankee #91. <i>(Free Preview of Premium Content)</i>

Boggs' career began in Boston, where he made a name for himself as a hit machine.  He made his major-league debut in 1982 and hit .349 in his first season.  Boggs was so good that the Red Sox were inclined to trade their incumbent third baseman, Carney Lansford, to the Oakland Athletics to make room for their up-and-coming star.

Boggs responded well, to say the least.  He hit .361 in 1983 and set off a streak of 10 consecutive seasons in which he would hit .300 or better.  He garnered more than 200 hits in six consecutive seasons.  And he won batting titles in five of them. 

A ridiculously good contact hitter, Boggs was gifted with an excellent eye and perfectly short line-drive stroke.  He was next to impossible to strike out - he whiffed more than 60 times in a season just twice - and he led the league in walks twice.  He also led the league in times on base for eight consecutive seasons, from 1983 to 1990.  Never known for his power (he averaged just 8 homeruns per season), Boggs managed 24 homeruns in 1987, finishing third in the league in slugging percentage.

Boggs was also one of the most superstitious ballplayers ever.  He would get up at the same time every morning, and always eat the same thing before games: chicken.  He was even nicknamed "chicken man" by Jim Rice.  Boggs would take batting practice and fielding practice at the same time every game, and took a precise path to and from the field.  He was also known for drawing the Hebrew word "chai" in the ground before each at bat.

Scandal erupted for Boggs in 1988 when a woman sued him claiming that they had had an affair for four years.  The suit never managed to disrupt his performance on the field, and he admitted to the affair, but injuries began to plague him as he entered the second half of his career.

After a down season in his last year as a Red Sox, in which he hit a career-low .259, Boggs decided a change of scenery would be good for him.  He signed as a free agent with the Yankees in December of 1992 and began his career in pinstripes.

Boggs joined a new-look Yankees team that featured right fielder Paul O'Neill, centerfielder Bernie Williams, and pitchers Jimmy Key and Jim Abbott.  The newcomers helped lead the 1993 Yankees to a 88-74 record, the team's first winning season since 1988, and more help - and glory - was on the way.

















































1996 Yankees .311 501 2 41 80 1 67 32 .389 .389
1997 Yankees .292 353 4 28 55 0 48 38 .373 .397

The lefty Boggs hit .302 in his first season as a Yankee, but his second season was shaping up to be one of the best of his career.  When the strike hit, Boggs was hitting .342 with 11 round-trippers.  But the work stoppage cut short his year, and the Yankees' chances of returning to the playoffs.

Never known for his defense when he first came to the majors, Boggs won the first of his two Gold Gloves in 1994.  He picked up a second one in 1995.

1995 would see the return of pinstripes to the postseason, and Boggs was once again a large part of that.  With rookie Andy Pettitte, midseason acquisition David Cone and Jack McDowell spearheading the rotation, the Yankees went 79-65, winning the first-ever Wild Card.  They were defeated in the first round by the Seattle Mariners, and Boggs hit just .263 in the series.

Boggs hit .328 for his career

The next season would be different however, and Boggs would play a critical role in the Yankees improbable World Series victory.  Boggs, who had played in the 1986 Series for Boston, once again found himself playing on the world's biggest stage.  The Atlanta Braves were heavily favored in the series, and they quickly took a 2-1 series lead.

With game four tied in the 10th inning and the bases loaded, Boggs pinch hit for Andy Fox and stepped to the plate to face Steve Avery.  Boggs drew a walk to break the tie and eventually give the Yankees an 8-6 victory over Atlanta and tie the series.  The Yankees went on to win the Series back at home in New York and Boggs celebrated by riding around the stadium on the back of a police horse.  That image is burned into the minds of everyone who watched the game, and is one of the quintessential moments in Yankee history.

Sadly, it would be the only World Series Boggs would win.  The Yankees re-acquired third baseman Charlie Hayes for 1997 and the two split the duties at the hot corner.  The Yankees were eliminated by the Indians in the ALDS that season, and Boggs left the team to go home to the new Tampa Bay Devil Rays team.

His career didn't end once he left the Bronx however, and Boggs was still productive with the expansion team.  He hit the first homerun in team history and hit another homerun for his 3,000th career hit on August 7, 1999.  Injuries forced him to the disabled list shortly thereafter, and he decided to retire, ending one of the most illustrious careers by a baseball player ever.  For his 18 years of amazing hitting, Boggs will almost certainly be inducted into the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible in early 2005.

Boggs played in 12 consecutive All-Star games, the final four as a Yankee.  He finished in the top 10 in MVP voting four times, led the league in almost every offensive statistic at least once, and was one of the greatest pure hitters of all time. His accomplishments as a player, and as a Yankee, are what make him our greatest Yankees of all time #92.

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories