tampabay.com

Wade to go

By Times Staff Writer
Published July 24, 2005


TALKIN' ABOUT WADE

What some former teammates, opponents and others have to say about Boggs:

Marlins outfielder Jeff Conine:

"I saw him take batting practice in Boston one time, and it was the most impressive BP I'd ever seen. He literally started on the leftfield line and hit line drives, and each one was just next to the one before. And he went all the way around the field. Then he started on the rightfield line hitting home runs, and he hit one to almost every part of the field. It was impressive."

Former umpire Jim McKean:

"Most of the time he would take pitches and then he'd ask. He was really concerned about the strike zone. Not to argue, but to feel out the situation of how he was going to hit. He would work that strike zone. When you could hit as well as he did with two strikes, you could do that."

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa:

"In Game 1 of the 1988 ALCS while managing Oakland), we took a one-run lead into the bottom of the ninth. (Dennis Eckersley) was pitching. He got two quick outs, and then Jody Reed doubled. (Rich) Gedman came up, and Eck got ahead of him. And you're thinking, "You've got to get Gedman. You don't want to get to Boggs.' He ends up walking Gedman. And up comes Boggs, and you're thinking, "Oh (expletive).' He's got so many ways to get a base hit to tie the game. He's liable to hit a ball in the gap or off the wall. And Eck struck him out. I always thought that's not the way you're going to beat the Red Sox, striking out Wade Boggs in the ninth inning. He may not get a base hit, but he's going to put the ball in play."

Rays coach Billy Hatcher:

"He's a determined individual. I think Wade thrived the most when people said he couldn't do something. The worst thing you could do as an opposing fan or player or anyone was to say he couldn't do anything because he was going to prove to you that he could."

SELECT COMPANY

A look at how Boggs compares to other prominent members of the 3,000-hit club:

PETE ROSE

Similar to Wade Boggs for his tireless approach to hitting and his preference to hit hard liners instead of homers. Rose is baseball's all-time leader with 4,256 hits and one of the game's most controversial personalities. Gambling on baseball has left him out of the Hall of Fame and banned from baseball, but his career spanned 24 seasons from 1963-86. Because of his gambling and efforts to get reinstated, younger fans don't know how great Rose was. Nicknamed "Charlie Hustle" for his all-out style, Rose was a lifetime .303 hitter who won three batting titles and the 1973 National League MVP. He was a 17-time All-Star and, what many forget, could play anywhere. He played 1,327 games in the outfield, 939 at first base, 634 at third base and 628 at second base.

FAN CLUB

We asked our readers to share their favorite Wade Boggs stories:

"I worked at the Pasadena Yacht & Country Club, and a few years ago, they had the Legends of Baseball there for a round of golf. I got to meet some of the great players of the past. But none could compare to Wade Boggs. I asked him for his autograph, and he thanked me for asking. What class.

Carl Hanners

St. Petersburg

WHAT'S COOKING?

One of Boggs' favorite chicken recipes, from his book Fowl Tips:

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Ingredients:

2-3 pounds chicken (cut up)

1 quart buttermilk

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 cup vegetable oil

Place chicken pieces in large bowl. Pour buttermilk over chicken and leave for several hours or overnight in a refrigerator. When ready to fry, put flour, salt and pepper in a paper or plastic bag. Shake off excess buttermilk. Put two or three pieces of chicken into the bag. Shake until chicken is coated with flour. Heat oil over medium-low heat. Place chicken pieces into skillet. Cook with cover on, turning pieces often. Cook until golden brown, 20-30 minutes.

NUMBERS GAME

One of Boggs' most impressive stats:

71.4

Percentage of games Boggs got a hit, 1,742 of 2,439.

HALL CALL

One of Boggs' items already in the Hall:

The bat he used to hit the first homer in Devil Rays history, March 31, 1998.

WADE'S WORLD

Each day we'll present a top-five list prepared by Boggs. Today, his favorite teammates: 1. Jerry Remy, Red Sox 1982-84

2. Rick Cerone, Red Sox 1988-89

3. Mike Stanley, Yankees 1993-95, 1997

4. Don Mattingly, Yankees 1993-95

5. Spike Owen, Red Sox 1986-88; Yankees 1993

- Compiled by Marc Topkin, Times staff writer