Red Sox All Insane Team
Position by Position Break Down of the Sox Wackiest Players
THE RED SOX ALL-INSANE TEAM
“WADE ANTHONY BOGGS. A disciplined hitter whose commanding knowledge of the strike zone made him one of baseball’s toughest outs…hit .318 with 3,010 hits and 1,412 walks…won two Gold Gloves. Legendary for his superstitions.”
--Wade Boggs’ Hall of Fame plaque
You’ve got to give Major League Baseball credit. They summed up Boggs career nicely. But even the Hall of Fame couldn’t resist enshrining Boggs’ without that last line, which is a sort of a polite code for “By the way, Boggs is out of his cotton pickin’ mind.” (I presume that when they mention Wade’s superstitions, they’re referring to the one where he ate chicken everyday, or how he ran sprints at precisely 7:17, and not the one where he believed he hit better with Margo Adams in the stands going “commando” under her skirt.)
Boggs’ plaque acknowledges what we’ve always known: The Chicken Man is absolutely daffy. Out there where the busses don’t run. If I had written Boggs plaque it would say:
“Every year you could put him at the top of your batting order and be guaranteed he’d reach base 300 times. Said something bizarre almost daily. Won two Gold Gloves and deserved more. A certifiable crackpot. A singles/doubles hitter who ran the bases like the “invisible runner” in a pick-up game (one base on a single, two on a double, etc.) Not a team player. Hit .400 with women in scoring position.”
Boggs’ induction last week brought up a lot of memories about his unique brand of insanity. Like the time he said he avoided getting knifed by a guy when he “willed himself invisible.” Or the time he fell out of his pick-up while his wife was driving it down the interstate. How he always scribbled the Hebrew “chai” symbol in the batter’s box, but he isn’t Jewish. Boggs once claimed he was lifted up by a tornado and it dropped him a mile from where he was. The list goes on.
There’s something about the Red Sox that breeds Boggs’ kind of craziness. They may have gone 86 years between titles, but the Sox have always led the majors in the bizarre, the peculiar, the haunted, the bi-polar, the eccentric and the lunatic fringe.
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher: Oil Can Boyd- Once when the Sox had a game suspended due to foggy conditions, Boyd said, “Well, what do they expect when they build a ballpark right on the ocean?” The game was in Cleveland, Ohio. The Can’s “flamboyanceness” (his term) gives him the edge here over the “Possessed Rebel”, Roger Clemens.
Left-Handed Starting Pitcher: Bill Lee- Granted, The Spaceman was only crazy in the Randall P. McMurphy sense, but he still gets the nod. When the commissioner fined him $500 for admitting he smoked pot, he said he only sprinkled it on his pancakes. He later paid the commissioner’s office $513.27, just to screw up their accounting. He ran for President as the candidate of the Bull Moose Party, he came out again guns and butter, because they’ll both kill you.
Relief Pitcher: Roger Moret- A forgettable pitcher with the Sox, sort of the John Halama of his day, he later pitched for Texas. In 1978 Moret went into a catatonic trance in the middle of the Rangers’ locker room, frozen like a statue while holding a shower slipper. It took EMTs hours to get him into an ambulance and cart him away.
First Base: Dick Stuart- “Dr. Strangeglove” was so bad in the field that when he said he needed to have his glove mended, someone suggested they send it to a welder. While accepting an award at a banquet, Stuart acknowledged his wife by saying “I’ve got a good woman standing behind me” and someone yelled, “I hope she’s wearing a glove.”
Second Base: Pumpsie Green- Tom Yawkey ignored millions of non-crazy minority ballplayers for twelve years before finally integrating the Sox with Green. Pumpsie and pitcher Gene Conley distinguished themselves when they tried to leave the team in mid-season to fly to Israel. Neither made it any further than the airport, since they overlooked the small fact that they didn’t own passports.
Shortstop: Nomar Garciaparra- This pains me, since I’ve always been a card-carrying Nomar fan. But those ticks at the plate, and that business of hopping up and down the dugout steps was always a cry for help. Plus he turned down four years at $60 million, the worst/most insane financial decision in the history pro sports.
Third Base: Boggs- Of course. I should mention that he once said “If Wade Boggs were hitting behind Wade Boggs, Wade Boggs would drive in 100 runs every year.”
Outfield: Manny Ramirez- Do I need to explain?
Outfield: Carl Everett- Everett famously didn’t believe in dinosaurs or the moon landings because he wasn’t there to see them. He was in a Sox uniform for two Family Days, and got thrown out of each. One for bumping the ump in a ten minute long meltdown, and the other when he grabbed his crotch and gestured to the pitcher what he could do with it. His bizarre tirade on the first day of workouts following the 9/11 attacks hastened the end of the wildly successful Joe Kerrigan Era.
Outfield: Jimmy Piersall- As far as we know, the only Sox player whose insanity actually landed him in the Looney Bin. Wrote a book about it, “Fear Strikes Out,” that was made into an unwatchable movie that features Anthony Perkins throwing like a girl.
Catcher: Mo Berg- The most fascinating ballplayer no one’s ever heard of. Picture Doug Mirabelli if he was a “Jeopardy!” champion and our top spy in Iraq. Berg was the Sox backup in the 1930s who spoke 12 languages, answered questions about Sanskrit on radio quiz shows, talked physics with Einstein, and was a spy for the Allies in Germany during WWII. He makes this list because he spent his life after the war sitting around in a kimono, mooching off his brother, reading a dozen newspapers a day and asking if anyone wanted to hear about his adventures. No one did.
Manager: Jimy Williams- Psychology students could do their theses on the nonsense that used to come out of his mouth on a daily basis. One of my favorites was:
"I don't know anything about that, surprise, or all those other adjectives, or what do you use, adverbs? Prepositions? I like gerunds. I went to high school with a guy named Gerand Thornquist. His dad drove a bus for Greyhound. He was almost the valedictorian. You'd have to be with a name like that."
If Ol’ Jimy ever gets elected to the Hall, it sounds like his plaque is written.