Boggs had seven consecutive 200-hit seasons from 1983-1989, and in six of those years he reached base at least 300 times. He was a patient hitter, and despite not having speed he served as a leadoff batter for much of his career. As a result, he scored more than 100 runs seven times and crossed the plate more than 1,500 times in his Hall of Fame career.
After 11 seasons with the Boston Red Sox, Boggs signed as a free agent with the New York Yankees after the ’92 campaign. Later, former and current Boston stars Roger Clemens and Johnny Damon would do the same, but at the time it was unusual for a Red Sox player of Boggs’ stature to ink a deal with the hated Yankees. In New York, Boggs continued to hit over .300, and in 1996 he won a World Series title as a member of the Yankees.
His career on-base percentage of .415 ranks him 25th all-time in baseball history.
A few words about hitting streaks
If you look closely at the lists of the longest hitting streaks in history you’ll start to see a pattern. The batters are often leadoff hitters, or batters who hit very high in the lineup. They have speed and they might also be good bunters. They don’t strike out a lot. Most of the players on the lists don’t walk a lot either. They are free swinging, high-average batters who get 4-5 plate appearances almost every day.
Players who walk a lot almost never put together long hitting streaks, which is why Babe Ruth never hit in 50 straight games. Same with Ted Williams. Ruth and Williams might be the two greatest hitters in baseball history, but the Babe’s longest streak was 26 games and Teddy Ballgame never hit in as many as 20 consecutive games. He didn’t swing at bad pitches, and the best hitters in baseball are often given nothing to hit.
Boggs was the best pure hitter in baseball for a long time, but he was stubborn like Williams and he refused to expand the strike zone. As a result he had a number of “0-for-3 with two walks” sprinkled among his two, three, and four-hit games. Had he approached hitting like Yogi Berra or Tony Oliva or Ichiro Suzuki, Boggs might have hit in 40 straight games or more.
Longest Hitting Streaks by a Red Sox Player
1. Dom DiMaggio … 34 games (1949)
2. Tris Speaker … 30 games (1912)
3. Nomar Garciaparra … 30 games (1997)
4. Johnny Damon … 29 games (2005)
5. Wade Boggs … 28 games (1985)
6. Dom DiMaggio … 27 games (1951)
7. Manny Ramirez … 27 games (2006)
8. Nomar Garciaparra … 26 games (2003)
9. Buck Freeman … 26 games (1902)
10. Johnny Pesky … 26 games (1947)