(It is a little bit of a relief to resume the regular Cardboard Appreciation posts that I did before the big Vote-Off. Now I have just one card to write about. One card to scan. No poll to post. Yep, I'm liking the new season of Cardboard Appreciation already. Here is the 48th edition of Cardboard Appreciation. But the first edition of Season 2):
When you live hundreds of miles away from a major league baseball stadium, like I have all my life, you are forced to gather all of your perceptions of major leaguers from television.
So, maybe I am completely wrong in this observation. Die-hard Red Sox fans of the 1980s probably would know better. But I always thought that Wade Boggs didn't quite fit in with everyone else.
Oh, he was a terrific hitter. One of the best. He certainly belonged in the major leagues. He also seemed to be a fan favorite. And he seemed personable enough. After all, he did agree to go on the Simpsons and punch out Barney Gumble.
But whenever I saw him interviewed, I just got the impression that he was not like his fellow big leaguers. He seemed almost too smart to be a major leaguer. But it was more than that. It was all the, shall we say, quirky behavior that he has exhibited.
Let's review, shall we?
1. The Margo Adams affair. I think that speaks for itself.
2. The story that he once drank 64 beers on a cross-country flight. He denied that (sort of) on PTI.
3. His appearance in hair restoration commercials. Wade, you're in the HALL OF FAME. You don't need to do that.
4. He rode a police horse after the Yankees won the World Series in 1996.
5. He inducted Mr. Perfect into the WWE Hall of Fame.
6. He ate chicken before every damn game. If I had to eat chicken for more than 3 days in a row, it'd all be coming back up, baby.
7. He took batting practice at 5:17 p.m. before every night game.
8. He knew how to throw a knuckleball and actually had the opportunity to use it in a major league game.
9. He agreed to be interviewed by the outdoor writer at my newspaper. To me, that's the strangest thing of all.
It's that kind of behavior that makes me think that Boggs is some kind of genius. Has his IQ ever been publicized? It's got to be up there.
But the thing that makes me think that he may be just a bit different is summed up nicely in the baseball card I'm featuring.
Notice what Wade Boggs is doing. He is at home plate after some walk-off hit. He is the first guy in the greeting party. And he is asking the unseen, approaching runner to SLIP HIM SOME SKIN! Who does that? I mean, I know this photograph was probably taken in 1991 or '92, but it certainly wasn't taken in 1974.
Weren't the Bash Brothers popular around then? Players were banging elbows, or at least high-fiving each other. That's all I remember seeing. I'd like to think they weren't trying to imitate J.J. Walker on "Good Times" anymore.
Yeah, that Boggs sure seemed different.
Now, if Boggs actually was just one of the guys then I apologize. But that's not what I saw. What I saw was a guy who was absolutely brilliant. Brilliantly different.
And that's probably why he's in the Hall of Fame, too.