Why can’t the Boston Red Sox retire Wade Boggs #26 jersey?

April 20, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Historical logos on display under the grandstands during the 100th anniversary celebration at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

I follow Wade Boggs on Twitter so when I saw Buster Olney tweet a link to an article in today’s Boston Globe about Boggs’ jersey, I was not surprised.

The third baseman played in Boston for eleven seasons. Boggs followed his time in Boston by spending 5 seasons with the rival New York Yankees, where he was a member of the 1996 team that won the World Series. Boggs would spend his final two seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, where he become a member of the 3,000 hit club and would see his #12 jersey retired in 2000. He played the majority of 18 seasons as a member of the Boston Red Sox but they refuse to retire his jersey.

As a member of the Red Sox, he won the batting title in 5 different seasons. Heck, Boggs .369 batting average at Fenway Park bettered even that of Ted Williams’ .361 batting average. Williams’ #9 jersey is retired but Boggs’ #26 is not?!?

Hell, Boggs was even elected to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2004! Let me understand this. One can be elected to the Red Sox Hall of Fame and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and still not get the Red Sox to retire their jersey?!?

“I thought when I wore a Boston hat in the Hall of Fame I’d be up there,” Boggs tells the Boston Globe.

The Red Sox’ website lists two criteria of getting their jersey retired.

* Election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame
* At least 10 years played with the Red Sox

The Red Sox used to require that a player retire as a member of the Boston Red Sox but they changed that rule following the 1993 retirement of catcher Carlton Fisk. Fisk retired as a member of the Chicago White Sox.

As it turns out, though, Boggs never wanted to leave the club.

“Mrs. Yawkey called me and Debbie over in the parking lot in 1991 after the last game,” said Boggs. “She said, ‘Wade I want you to follow in the same steps as Ted and Carl [Yastrzemski]. I want you to be a Red Sox for life.’

“I said, ‘Mrs. Yawkey, that would make me extremely happy.’ She said, ‘Would seven years, $35 million be adequate?’ I said, ‘I’ll sign it right now.’ But then she slips in the tub, she dies, and everything washes away.”

After the new Red Sox ownership withdrew the offer, Boggs would go on to sign a three-year deal worth $11 million with the Yankees. Between the Yankees and Rays, the third baseman made just short of $17 million rather than the $35 million deal he could have signed with the Red Sox prior to Yawkey’s passing.

Roger Clemens did not retire as a Red Sox pitcher but his #21 jersey has yet to be re-issued. Nor has the #45 jersey that Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez wore. However, Martinez would not qualify for having his number retired by Boston because he didn’t play 10 seasons with the club.

There was a chance that Boggs could have returned to the Red Sox as an ambassador for the team but Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino and Boggs could not reach an agreement on financials.

Currently, Boggs is part of the investment group called Go The Distance Baseball and an assistant baseball coach of the Wharton High School Wildcats.

The Red Sox should do the smart thing and retire Boggs’ jersey.

Topics: Boston Red Sox, Wade Boggs

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