Wade Boggs in 1981

In late June 1981, Wade Boggs, playing for Pawtucket, gave an extensive interview to the Boston Globe. The article’s title: “GOING NOWHERE?; THE PROSPECTS TURNED SUSPECTS HOPE IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO BE NOTICED.” Boggs said of a high school epiphany: “I went into the library, got Ted Williams’ book, read it, went 27 for 35 the rest of the season and have hit ever since.”

He complained: “I’ve never read or heard once that I’m a prospect. I was one of two players in the league to hit .300 last year, and not only was I not brought up in September, just to sit there and taste what it’s like, but I wasn’t protected and no other club wanted me. So I wrote Mr. [Edward F.] Kenney during the winter and asked him, ‘Am I a prospect or a suspect?’ He told me I’m still a prospect, so I believe him. But even hitting .350, the first time anyone ever said something about me was in Charleston, when (Cleveland manager) Dave Garcia came up to me at the batting cage and said, You’re a helluva ballplayer.’ I can’t tell you how that made me feel.”

Wade had this response to critics of his fielding: “All I can answer is that the two years I played 115 games at third (in Winston-Salem in ’77 and Bristol in ’79), I made the all-star teams. My fielding’s improved 100 percent this year because I’ve played and worked at it. My range has doubled. I’ve learned to make diving plays. And I’ll improve as long as I play. But I can’t improve in the field if I’m sitting on the bench with a bat in my hand.”

And Boggs said this about the assertion that he was a singles hitter who couldn’t run: “I guess they only want home run hitters. But do they watch batting practice? I can hit them as far as anyone. My extra base hits are picking up as I get older and stronger. I hit the ball off the center-field fence. They say I can’t run, but I have more infield hits than anyone on the club. Maybe I’ve been typecast. That happens, you know. My brother-in-law is a writer in Tampa and asked [Don] Zimmer about me a year ago. Zimmer answered, ‘Who?’ What I have to get is the shot. If I get the shot somewhere, I can put the raps aside if I hit. And I always have.”

Published in: on May 14, 2009 at 1:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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