When the Boston Red Sox retire Wade Boggs’ number this spring, John Reichard will be there—probably adding a few more items to his ever-growing collection of Boggs cards and memorabilia.
He may have even had a small role in making it happen.
Reichard along with his friend and fellow Boggs backer Richard Davis used their Twitter account (@Boggsfan) to relentlessly push for the Sox to afford the ultimate honor to the man who spent 11 of his 18 big league seasons in Boston and wears a Red Sox cap on his Hall of Fame plaque. Just before Christmas, the team announced it would finally retire his jersey number 26 in a May 26 ceremony at Fenway Park.
Bullish on Boggs
“I started collecting in 1978 and mainly collected complete sets,” he told Sports Collectors Daily. “But by the mid-90s, there were so many sets being issued that I decided to concentrate on a specific player and try to get as many different cards of him.
“I chose Boggs because I already had several of his cards and with my mom originally from Massachusetts I followed the Red Sox and even went to a couple of games at Fenway Park in the 80s and saw Wade play. I was always impressed with his ability to hit for a high average and get on base so I chose him.”
The Boggs Card Bonanza
Since 1996, he’s accumulated over 3,800 different Boggs cards, stretching from his minor league career through the 2015 season. Getting the cards from Boggs’ playing career is the easy part. It’s the newer stuff that’s tough.
“I have developed a master checklist of Wade Boggs cards including oddballs and variations,” he stated. “If you count the roughly 1,100 1 of 1s that are out there, he has approximately 6,300 different cards. With the explosion of parallel cards over the last 10 years or so it’s interesting that there have been over twice as many cards of Wade made after he retired than during the 18 years he played.”
- Over 300 cards #d between 2 and 10
- Nearly 1,500 overall serial #d cards
- Nearly 250 certified autograph cards
- Nearly 700 game-used cards
- Nearly 200 game-used with autograph cards
“When factoring out 1 of 1s, I have almost 3,700 different cards, which is over 70% of the non-1 of 1s available. My goal is to own at least 80% of his non-1 of 1s. But it’s always hard when every year there are usually over 200 non-1 of 1 cards released of Wade.”
He does own an impressive 121 1/1 Boggs cards. He lists his favorite as the 2012 Topps Tier One Bat Knob,w which contains the end of a game-used Boggs bat. Other favorites include the 2004 SP Game Used Patch 3000 Hit Club Autograph and a 2014 Topps Triple Threads Triple Hits.
His 1983 rookie cards are the starting point for anyone who considers themselves a Boggs “player collector” and most everything issued for the next ten years is inexpensive because of the prolific production of card companies trying to meet an insatiable demand at the time. That’s not universally true, though.
“For me, the most difficult cards to find are the more obscure parallel and oddball cards,” Reichard stated. “Since most are not that valuable I don’t see that many listed on eBay, for example. The one set that I’ve been searching for but can’t seem to find is the 1988 Star Boggs Nova 9-card set with a matte finish on the front. Most of the sets I see are the glossy version.”
While Boggs is a Hall of Famer, most of his cards remain within reach, according to Reichard.
“I personally think that all of Wade’s cards are undervalued. According to Beckett, he is only a semi-star, so his card values tend to be less than some other veteran players. But he played for two of the most historic and popular teams in baseball history, is a member of the Hall of Fame, and is one of only a handful of players to have more than 3,000 career hits, so it’s surprising that his cards are not more popular. But in a way that’s fine with me since I can pick up most of his cards for a decent price compared to other star players.”
Reichard has accumulated so much material, he’s converting a spare bedroom inside his home in Selinsgrove, PA into place where he can better display his Boggs-a-bilia.
“I currently own a game used Red Sox bat from the early 90s, a pair of game used Yankees batting gloves, a single game used Red Sox batting glove, and a pair of game used Yankees cleats.
I also have numerous pictures, magazines, programs, balls, posters, figurines, collector plates, and other various items. I hope someday to own a game used Red Sox jersey.”
Reichard was featured in the September 2012 “Super Collector” edition of the Beckett Sports Card Monthly price guide. He says it was through that article he met his friend Davis, another avid Boggs collector who reached out after seeing the article. “We met for the first time out in Chicago last year at The National, where I also met Wade for the first time and had him sign a jersey for me.”
The two created a Facebook page to show off their collections as well as to connect with other Wade Boggs fans and collectors.
“Both Richard and I will be at the game on May 26th. We each have our own Twitter accounts (mine is @wadeboggsfan and Richard’s is @Boggs328) and Wade (@ChickenMan3010) follows all three of our Twitter accounts as well as some of his family. He is great with responding to his fans on Twitter and is even better in person. He truly appreciates his fans.”