Wade Boggs left Boston way before Tom Brady opened the door. Just like TB12, the Boston Red Sox slugger was certainly thought to be a “finish your career guy” at Fenway Park. He was the toast of the town long before Boston broke their dreaded World Series curse.
A favorite of collectors then and now, he was reliable, fun-loving, and definitely knew how to reach first base. Of course, his Boston tenure eventually came to an end and Boggs went on to play for the rival New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays before retiring as one of the best hitters in MLB history. Today, Wade Boggs rookie cards are still popular and generally very affordable.
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Boggs was a military brat. His family moved around to different locations like Georgia and Puerto Rico before finally settling in Tampa, Florida. His dad flew for the Air Force while his mom also piloted airplanes. It’s no wonder his batting approach used such precision and outstanding technique.
Like many of the kids of his day, Boggs was a tremendous multi-sport athlete. He was an all state football player. He played quarterback and kicked well enough to be offered a scholarship from South Carolina.
The Red Sox had other plans and made him the seventh overall pick in the 1976 MLB draft. Boggs signed for $7500 and the rest is baseball history. He went 0-4 during his debut on April 10, 1982 but recovered quite nicely. He hit.349 during his rookie season and wound up winning five AL batting titles.
In his 18 seasons, he compiled an incredible .328 batting average. He batted an astonishing .369 during his home career at Fenway-the highest ever such number for a Boston player. That’s eight points higher than Ted Williams. One of the coolest stats we found is Boggs would have to go 0 for 854 if he returned to MLB for his career average to sink below .300. He was also very selective and reached base on walks when he didn’t get hits.
Boggs finished with 3,010 career hits. He was a 12 time All Star and won a World Series with the Yankees in 1996. In 2005, he was a first ballot inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame
Wade Boggs Rookie Cards
Boggs was one of the most popular players in collecting during the 1980s. You needed to get your hands on a Boggs, Mattingly, Schmidt, Ripken, or Ozzie in those days. His 1983 Topps, Donruss, and Fleer cards all maintain a decent value today, thanks in part to his Hall of Fame election and winning that title with the Yankees. He’s got good company in the set with Tony Gwynn rookie cards and Ryne Sandberg rookie cards in the same three issues.
Though generally very common, Topps Boggs rookie cards are quite tough to get in a 10 grade. They’re prone to centering issues and other tiny defects and are currently selling for over $1,000 (PSA Gem Mint 10). Much more affordable are PSA 9s. Nice, ungraded copies usually sell for under $25. You can check current eBay prices for all here.
Boggs’ Donruss and Fleer rookie cards are cheaper. The value of his 1983 Donruss ranges from $30-$35 for a 9 to around $200-$225 for a 10.
His 1983 Fleer rookie card is worth about the same as the Donruss, though sometimes a tad more.
Of course, you can buy very nice, ungraded copies of all three for much less. Even near mint-mint complete sets of all three brands are quite plentiful and can be found for under $75 each.
Boggs also appeared in the 1981 Pawtucket Red Sox set while in the minor leagues. They’re cool to own and not pricey, but they’re not “official” rookie cards.
You can see all of his cards, including more recent autographed modern issues issued by Topps here.