I've said it before. There are any number of ways a team can honor a player. They can elect the player to the team's hall of fame. They can build a statue of him. They can name something after him. They can put a display up of his artifacts. Or, they can retire his number.
Retiring a player's number is an enormous honor. It's basically saying that the player was so important to the team, so iconic that you just can't imagine anyone else wearing the same number as he did. It just wouldn't fit. Wouldn't seem right. If someone else wore #45 this year, it would seem out of place. That's Pedro's number. Always will be.
For some reason, the Red Sox have suddenly decided to retire #26 in honor of Wade Boggs. Here are the list of players who have worn #26 since Wade Boggs left the team. (Thanks to RedSoxDieHard for having the list all ready for me.)
Not exactly a who's who of baseball immortality. If Wes Chamberlain was given the number just a couple years after Boggs left, it doesn't exactly fit the "can't imagine anyone else wearing the number" criteria does it?
So, how can the Sox now decide that Wade Boggs was such an icon in #26 that it should be retired for him?
This just screams of a Carlton Fisk type excuse to have a ceremony and sell tickets. Sure, Boggs had great numbers when he was here. He deserves to be honored. Name the chicken stand after him. Or hang up another plaque in his honor. Or build him a statue. But, don't retire his number. After all this time.
It just seems pathetic.