Monday, May 27, 2013

1984 DONRUSS DIAMOND KINGS WADE BOGGS


KNOWN AS MUCH FOR HIS OCD AS HIS OBP.


121 PLATE APPEARANCE SHORT OF QUALIFYING
 FOR THE BATTING TITLE IN '82.


THE FRONT PAGE

  • In observance of Memorial Day, The Cardboard Examiner remembers a card from the patriotic subset otherwise known as the 1984 Donruss Diamond Kings. And what better card to examine than Wade Boggs', a self-described "Air Force brat'' whose regimented ways on the diamond would've made a drill sergeant beam with pride.  
  • Watching Boggs at-bat was to see a master at his craft. The 12-time All-Star fouled off tough pitches with two strikes better than anyone. He played pepper off The Green Monster with his inside-out swing and become a lethal leadoff hitter despite being slower afoot than glacial drift.

THE BACK PAGE

  • These backs are a little spartan but the write-ups well done.
  • The '83 AL batting race was definitely a case of two ships passing in the night: Boggs winning his first title, beating out Rod Carew, who was trying for an eighth that he never would get.
  • Card No. 26 matches Boggs' Red Sox number. Coincidence?

PHOTO ART PLAY

  • Decent job by Dick Perez, but he often gave Caucasian players an orange whip glow. 

EXTRA, EXTRA

  • Last year for Father's Day in Omaha, Neb., Boggs participated in an event in which he served as "father for a day'' for a military family whose dad was serving in Afghanistan. He accompanied them to a College World Series game and played catch with them on the field.
  • Wade's dad, Win Boggs, was a career military man who served in the Marines during World War II and flew for the Air Force in Korea.
  • The military lifestyle rubbed off on Wade in a major way as he became a slave to doing things the same way every day.
  • Among them: Before games, eat chicken, take exactly 150 grounders, hit in the cage at exactly 5:17 p.m. and run sprints at exactly 7:17. Before each at-bat, he pawed the Hebrew "chai'' sign in the dirt with his spikes even though he wasn't Jewish. Less publicized, in odd-numbered innings, he'd spit twice for each time he adjusted his cup; in even-numbered innings, he'd spit once for each time he adjusted his cup. 
  • This obsessive compulsive behavior -- and some talent -- paid off handsomely with Boggs becoming a first-ballot Hall of Famer who amassed 3,010 hits and five AL batting titles in an 18-year career. He finished with a .328 batting average and .415 on-base percentage.
  • OCD wasn't the only stat he led the league in. He topped the majors in OBP six times, including five consecutive years from '85-'89.
  • He was fourth in the AL MVP voting in '85, when he batted a career-high .368 with a major-league leading 240 hits.
  • After never hitting more than eight homers, Boggs out of nowhere clubbed 24 in '87 and drove in a career-high 89 runs and led the AL in OPS (1.049) and OPS+ (174). And he still managed to hit .363.
  • Boggs made tabloid headlines, too. He was self-diagnosed as a sex addict, had several run-ins with teammates who said he was more concerned with his stats than winning, was smacked with a palimony suit from a mistress and alienated Red Sox Nation by signing with the Yankees after the '92 season, his 11th in Boston. 
  • The coup de gras occurred in '96 when Chowderheads all over New England spontaneous exploded after Boggs was shown riding bitch on a police horse after New York won the World Series in six games over Atlanta.
  • He grew up in Tampa and played his final two seasons there, notching his 3,000th hit with a home run in '99. Because of his ties to my hometown, Boggs has always been one of my favorite players, warts and all. He's a good guy at his core.
  • Enshrined in Cooperstown in '05 with 91.9 percent of the vote.
  • Hard to believe that Boggs was stuck in the minors for six years, mainly because the Red Sox thought he was too slow and didn't have the power or defensive skill to play a corner infield position. The Sox also had '81 AL batting champ Carney Lansford manning the hot corner. 
  • You have to appreciate Boggs' perseverance and gusto to become a top defensive third baseman, winning two Gold Gloves later in his career. 
  • Finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting in '82 to Cal Ripken Jr. and Kent Hrbek.
  • Fly your flag today.

GOT HIS AUTOGRAPH AT A BENEFIT FOR A SLAIN POLICE OFFICER 
IN TAMPA IN THE LATE '80s.

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