Secaucus, NJ, November 1, 2011 – Hall of Famers and former Boston Red Sox teammates Wade Boggs and Jim Rice are featured in a new episode of MLB Network’s Studio 42 with Bob Costas on Monday, November 7 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. Throughout the hour-long interview filmed in Cooperstown, New York in July 2011, Boggs and Rice discuss breaking into the Red Sox organization, their approaches to hitting, losing the 1986 World Series, handling criticism from the media, and their relationships with the late Hall of Famer Ted Williams. Boggs also talks about New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter, his 3,000th hit and his Hall of Fame future, saying, “He may be the only guy to get 100 percent of the vote.” A preview of the interview can be viewed here.
As teammates from 1982-1989, Boggs and Rice won two American League East division titles in 1986 and 1988, and the American League Championship in 1986. Boggs, a five-time American League batting champion, spent his 18-year career with the Red Sox (1982-92), New York Yankees (1993-1997) and Tampa Bay Rays (1998-1999), and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005. Rice, an eight-time American League All-Star and the 1978 American League MVP, played his entire 16-year career for the Red Sox and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009.
Prior to Studio 42 with Bob Costas, MLB Network’s block of offseason programming will air, including Intentional Talk at 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. ET, the premiere of Clubhouse Confidential at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. ET, and MLB Network’s offseason show of record Hot Stove at 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. ET.
Highlights from the conversation with Boggs and Rice include:
Rice on his relationship with Ted Williams:
We had a good relationship, but we sort of didn’t get along as far as talking about the game of baseball. Ted wanted me to walk more. I’m like, “Ted, I’m the third and fourth hitter. I’m not going to do anything, but clog up the bases, I need to knock somebody in.” [He would say], “You’ve got to have on-base percentage.” [I’d say], “Ted, I hit .300.” [He would respond], “You can hit .315.” [I’d say], “Ted, I hit 39 home runs.” [And he’d respond], “Your home runs may go down, but your on-base percentage may go up.”
Boggs on New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter hitting his 3,000 career hit on a home run:
That’s the way he does things. He’s the master of Hollywood scripting, he’s the master of it. … Whenever anything revolves around doing something special, Derek’s always involved with it and I’ve got good company now. … He has a special makeup which [New York Yankees owner] Mr. Steinbrenner saw and told [Yankees manager] Buck Showalter, “You’re crazy for bringing this guy up.” [Steinbrenner] said, “52 errors, he’s a liability.” And now look at him, he’s the captain, 3,000 [career hits]. Within six, seven, eight, nine years down the road, he’s going to be sitting right here [in Cooperstown] walking around the veranda, easily. He may be the only guy to get 100 percent of the vote.
Boggs on how long it took to get over losing the 1986 World Series:
It never goes away. … [It was] four days [before] when I had to bury my mother. Tragic, that’s why I was crying. … I was crying in part because we lost. I knew I had to go home, I knew I had to go home and walk in the door [and] my mom wasn’t going to be there. That crushed me, that’s why I was crying. … I came back with blinders on and I knew that if I crossed the white line, I could play and it would alleviate the hurt. We went on to the World Series, played and then the finality of the glove going up in the air, it was over. I didn’t have that crossing the white line anymore.
Rice on his relationship with the media:
My thing was that if we lost, I’ll sit there and talk about the team all night long. If we win, I don’t talk because to me that is what I got paid for: I got paid to win. But when we lost, by being captain of the ballclub, I had to speak for the rest of the guys. Believe it or not, you learn that [when] you take pressure off some of your teammates, they play better. Some guys can’t handle the pressure in Boston and I was very lucky to be there 15 years that I could handle the pressure.
There were good guys that you say, “Hey, look this is off the record.” … As soon as you find out something is on the record, you just don’t talk anymore. That’s the way it is. I wasn’t protecting myself, I was protecting my teammates.
Boggs on making the Red Sox in 1982:
[Red Sox manager] Ralph Houk called me into the office. He said, “I need to talk to you a second.” I knew I was going back to Pawtucket in 1982 Spring Training. All of the sudden, he goes, “You know, all these reports about how bad a fielder you were? That’s the reason you made the club. Congratulations, you’re going north with us.” I go, “Are you kidding?” He says, “No, we knew you could hit, but I never knew you could field like that.” And that’s how I made the club as a utility infielder.
Rice on his perception of Boggs when he broke into the Major Leagues:
They had the same label with me: good hitter, but a bad fielder. … He had the eye of a Ted Williams, of course had the bat control also. … We knew the type of guy we were going to have.
Rice on his approach to hitting:
When I came up in 1975, [Carl] Yastrzemski told me, “Jimmy, if you’re going to stay around the big leagues, you got to learn how to hit breaking balls.” And that’s how I became a pretty good hitter. My whole approach was hitting off breaking balls.
Boggs on his approach to hitting:
In a game, I have to recognize the ball, see what it’s doing and then let it get deep in the zone and hit it. I never wanted to pop up to the infield. I went 781 plate appearances without popping up to the infield. That was a badge of honor right there, not popping up to the infield, I hated that.
Boggs on if a hitter will hit .400 for an entire regular season again:
No, never. … Unless [a player is] injured, barely qualifies [and] has the right amount of plate appearances. Anybody that plays every day, never. Actually, maybe the days of .370 might be gone.
Boggs on today’s Major League hitters:
It’s fashionable to strike out 200 times. You’ve got to be kidding me, that is a joke.
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