We know Wade Boggs isn't necessarily the type of guy to do things for the sake of keeping up appearances. The guy who supposedly drinks 107 beers in one day doesn't care too much about what people think, ya know?
So there was Boggs on Wednesday, reassembled with members of the 1986 Boston Red Sox team at Fenway Park. The Red Sox were celebrating the 30-year anniversary of the '86 squad that won the AL pennant but famously lost to the New York Mets in the World Series. Boggs was there, as were Roger Clemens, Jim Rice, Dwight Evans and many others. Even Bill Buckner.
It was all fun and nostalgia, but then the Internet noticed something peculiar. Boggs was wearing the World Series ring he won with the rival New York Yankees.
HAHA. In ceremony honoring '86 RedSox, Wade Boggs wore his Yankees championship ring! (via ESPN) pic.twitter.com/bqnOGHLv69
— Dr Cork Gaines (@CorkGaines) May 26, 2016
As far as baseball controversies go, this isn't anything to throw a punch over. But at least a couple Red Sox fans were upset. If nothing else, it makes for an interesting wrinkle in baseball's most famous rivalry.
There are three answers that could explain all this:
• Boggs wears the World Series ring all the time and didn't even consider that he was wearing a Yankees ring to a Red Sox party. It's a World Series ring, after all, and Boggs has said he doesn't just put it in a drawer. Can't blame him for that.
• Boggs cares so little about keeping up appearances that he knew he wore the Yankees ring and just didn't care.
• Boggs, after years of getting dissed by the Red Sox, was throwing some subtle (and fantastic) shade their direction.
Option Three is the most intriguing, so let's dig into that a bit. The Red Sox and Boggs haven't exactly been friendly since Boggs' days at Fenway Park ended. In fact, only recently did the Red Sox decide to retire Boggs' No. 26. They made the announcement in December and the ceremony is happening Thursday. Boggs, at the time this was announced, was thrilled.
[Elsewhere: Alex Rodriguez is bat-flipping his way back to the Yankees]
Boggs was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005 on the first ballot. Even the Tampa Bay Rays retired his number before the Red Sox — and he only played two seasons there. (It's also where he collected his 3,000th hit). But the Red Sox, with whom he played 11 seasons and collected 2,098 hits, waited more than 10 years after he got into Cooperstown before retiring his number. Ouch.
The Red Sox have said in the past that they don't retire the numbers of players who end their careers on other teams. Though, they've also broke that policy (with Carlton Fisk, for instance). So there are a number of theories about why the Red Sox snubbed Boggs all those years, including that the Red Sox weren't happy about Boggs' ugly affair with Margo Adams in the '80s or the way he celebrated the Yankees World Series win (on horseback!) Then there's the long-rumored agreement that Boggs made to wear a Rays cap on his Hall of Fame plaque. The Rays cap didn't happen and Boggs denies the agreement, but people still talk about it.
Whatever the beef was between the Red Sox and Boggs, the Sox are over it enough to retire Boggs' number. So now we're left to wonder whether Boggs was getting his revenge during Wednesday's celebration. If he resents the Red Sox for making him wait all these years to get his number retired, wearing the Yankees ring in Fenway Park is a sly way to stick it to them.
Like most things in the Red Sox-Boggs relationship, it's hard to say for sure. But if Boggs wears the Yankees ring again during his Red Sox number-retirement ceremony Thursday night, it might get a few more people wondering.
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