Boggs leads off Hall chat series
Hall of Famer chats with fans, answers questions online
Former third baseman, Gold Glove winner and 12-time All-Star Wade Boggs led off a series of Hall of Fame chats at MLB.com, courtesy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Boggs chatted with fans online about his career, his baseball memories, and his induction into the Hall of Fame.Wade Boggs: Hello, this is Wade. Thanks for joining me today. 21rush12: Wade, first of all, congrats on getting into the Hall. Are line-drive hitters like yourself a dying breed? Boggs: Today's players are a combination of power and average. The days of guys that walk a lot and hit the doubles are gone. It's hard to compare myself to guys today and to guys like Tony Gwynn. Base_Ball: Was there a pitcher you didn't like to face, like Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, or Roger Clemens? Boggs: Hands down, Randy Johnson. He was the toughest lefty I faced. As far as lefties, there wasn't anyone close. Right-handers, it was probably Bob Welch. Second would be Dan Quisenberry. I can only remember one or two hits off him and he had the knack of throwing that submarine where I had a tough time with it. Base_Ball_2: Wade, is there one at-bat that comes to mind where you failed and wished you could have that moment back? Boggs: There's probably 7,000 of them. The big one is 1983, July 4, the last at-bat against Dave Righetti in his no-hitter. In that situation, I would have been pleased with a walk rather than being the final out. Base_Ball_3: Wade, do you think sometime in the future you'll have the desire to manage? Boggs: Never. I can honestly say never. In my opinion, it's a thankless job and I've seen a lot of good guys ruined for taking that job. It's a job that's never crossed my mind. 21rush12: If you didn't have the knee surgery in '99 after the 3,000 hits, do you think you might of kept playing? Or is what Rickey Henderson doing kind of crazy, playing until 45-years-old plus? Boggs: The knee surgery didn't have anything to do with it. When I came off the disabled list I was able to play, but the Rays didn't reinstate me. I was ready to go, but the Rays didn't pick up my option, I didn't want to go out west to LA or DH or play off the bench. I went out the way I wanted to, and I didn't linger on. Brian_Richmond: Congratulations Wade! What were your feelings when the Red Sox won it all in 2004? Boggs: I was extremely happy, it had been a long time coming. I have a lot of older friends in New England and I was happy for them. It took the monkey off their back. Now Sox fans can talk about the 2004 team. Base_Ball_4: Wade, did you enjoy being a Yankee? Boggs: I loved it. I mean, there's no greater town to play in. When you win it all there, you get the greatest ticker-tape parade you can have. It's the grand stage. Base_Ball: What was it like playing the opposite corner of Yankees great Don Mattingly? Boggs: I credit the two Gold Gloves I won to Don Mattingly. When you have a great first baseman who can save you an error a week, it's a plus. We won Gold Gloves together. It was special being able to throw to him. I enjoyed the four years I played with Donny, and he had a super work ethic. 21rush12: Have you ever thought about coming back as a knuckleball pitcher? From one of the PR shots you took at the Hall, it appears you haven't forgot your grip. Boggs: I was offered a minor league contract to be a pitcher, and I declined. I have a few innings in the big leagues and that's enough. Jennifer_Hoffman: What baseball figure do you feel has influenced you the most? Boggs: I would say Pete Rose and George Brett. Rose's style of play -- I emulated the way he looked at the ball into the catcher's mitt. I idolized George's swing and I tried to emulate that. Those two guys and also Reggie Jackson, too. I used Reggie's bats in high school and I loved watching him play with the A's. Base_Ball_4: Besides going into the Hall of Fame, what is your most memorable time in your baseball career? Boggs: The 1996 World Series, how magic it was. The overall feeling when the last out was made. 21rush12: Do you have many pieces of memorabilla from the 3,000-hit game? Boggs: The whole uniform, except the stirrups. The bat and ball and two or three other jerseys I wore that day. I think I have eight or nine balls with the hologram. The champagne bottle I drank out of, also home plate. Brian_Richmond: What do you think of Ichiro Suzuki? Do you think he is the best contact hitter playing today? Boggs: Yes, I would. With his speed, all he has to do is put the ball in play. He uses the bunt and tries to slap the ball in the hole. msat: Wade, congratulations on being inducted into the Hall of Fame. You were a consummate professional. In what ways did your dad influence you and all of your work habits, him being a military guy? Boggs: Discipline was the biggest thing. He was my coach and he molded me into a big leaguer. He played a significant part. I would call him almost every day when I was in the minors. Jeff_Weakes: Who is your current favorite player on the Red Sox? Boggs: Johnny Damon, because he's my son's favorite. My son wears No. 18 and he has his hair long, too. I like the way Damon plays and since he's a leadoff hitter. freddiekanute: Congrats on being elected into the HOF. Looks good on you. I've been a Sox fan forever and you represented them well. What the heck happened in '87 with the 24 dingers? How did you approach hitting differently? Boggs: Actually my swing changed and I didn't even know it. I hit a lot more high fly balls. It must have been an El Nino year! My swing was actually screwed up that year. yankeesrock13251: I am 15 and love the sport. Do you have any advice on how to hit the ball and play better? Boggs: Practice, practice, practice! Hard work and dedication. Whenever you can, take flyballs or grounders, do it. I would advise you to play as much as you can. The more you play, the better you get. If you really want it, you can make it happen. antslex15: Always known for your stick, what made you work so hard to improve your game at third defensively? Boggs: A lot of grounders and maturity. Learning to play hitters was a big part. The hard work paid off and I won a Gold Glove at 37, the oldest position player to win one. brodaus10: Did you like being on "The Simpsons?" Boggs: That was pretty neat, I loved it. Base_Ball_3: In 2007, Tony Gwynn, Mark McGwire, and Cal Ripken Jr. are all eligible for the Hall. Which of the three do you think will make it in that year? Boggs: It should be a landslide by all three, I think. VIP2_MLB999990298: What does it mean to you to be a Hall of Famer? Boggs: It means the world. It's the highest compliment that a baseball player can receive. It was the last piece of the puzzle that was missing for my career. You want to be recognized, and to be recognized the way I was is humbling and I'm thankful. Base_Ball_4: You have a lot of fans, Wade. We will miss you in baseball. What will you do now? Boggs: I'm coaching high school ball in Tampa. Once my son decides where he wants to play, I'll follow him around. Brian_Richmond: Are there any items that you personally donated to the Hall of Fame and what are they? Boggs: A lot of items from various years. Hats and bats and spikes. A jersey from my 3,000th hit. Boggs: Thanks for all your questions. I appreciate you joining me today, and I hope to see you in Cooperstown on July 31 for the induction ceremony.
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