Editor’s note: The main body of this post originally ran back in late January, but recent events caused me to update it.
Wade Boggs will be visiting Indianapolis this weekend as part of the AAA Indians’ “Signature Saturdays” promotion, so I made plans to take my son. As is typical in these situations, the legendary hitter — and even more legendary beer drinker — took to the local airwaves to talk about the appearance and to address various rumors of his superstitions and whatnot.
I have always enjoyed the stuff about having to eat chicken before every game, always having to do various warm-ups at 17 minutes past the hour, taking exactly 150 ground balls, etc, but it’s the lampooned legend of taking down over two and a half cases of beer between Boston and LA. So what did Boggs have to say about it when he joined Query & Schultz on 1260AM WNDE? Have a listen.
If you’re so inclined, you can get the entire interview here.
73?! This has got to be one of those cases in which the tales grow taller on down the line, right? As you will see below, the story I first heard was that it was 64 brewskis, so we’re talking about a 14% increase here. That’s akin to Boggs saying that his career batting average was really .369 instead of a paltry .328.
Let’s be generous here and say that a chartered flight from Logan to LAX runs 6.5 hours (that’s the listed flight time, so we’ll run with it). That’s 390 minutes from wheels up to wheels down, which means the 6’2″, 190 lb third baseman would have been taking down a beer every 5.3 minutes and a sixer every 32 minutes. Now put that on a loop for another 12 cycles.
I don’t believe for a second that there’s any real veracity to this story, though I’m sure there’s a kernel of truth from which it popped. Either way, I just think it’s cool that Boggs has completely embraced this whole thing as a part of his own folk tale, which makes him like a modern-day Pecos Bill or Paul Bunyan.
In the end, whether it was 73 beers or 64 or just more than the other guys on the plane, I think we can all agree that it’s just a good thing it wasn’t a Cubs team flight. After all, you can’t easily fit backup port-a-potties onto a plane in midair.
I love the FXX comedy It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The show’s brand of absurd irreverence is pretty much tailor made for my sense of humor and I thoroughly enjoy following The Gang as they bumble through their various hijinks and shenanigans. It was certainly no different with this seasons premiere, “The Gang Beats Boggs.”
Watching Mac, Dennis, Charlie, Dee, and Frank attempt to break the baseballer’s fabled beer-drinking record, I found myself laughing at all the little MLB references they were dropping. What I didn’t realize, however, was that the Boggs feat at the crux of the episode is true. Well, somewhat anyway.
As legend has it, Wade Boggs consumed 64 beers on a cross-country flight, an accomplishment that would kill most men not named Andre the Giant. Keep in mind that this legendary ale inhaling achievement was accomplished without such assistive technological advancements as the wide-mouth cans or punch tops too. Mr. Boggs, you are ridiculous!
It’s hard enough to imagine putting 768 ounces of any liquid in one’s belly, let alone beer, let alone doing it on an airplane. But former Devil Ray Brian Rose added a bit of veracity to the tale as he recounted his own travel experience with Boggs, then a coach with the team.
“I was sitting next to him on a plane and a flight attendant came by and gave him a case of beer,” said Rose. “He slid it under the seat and I was like, ‘What’s up with that? We only have an hour flight.’ He said, ‘That’s mine.’
“The whole flight, we were just shooting the shit, and he went one beer after the other. I said to him, ‘I’m impressed with the way you hit, but I’m more impressed right now.’ He goes, ‘Yeah, beer doesn’t affect me. I don’t get drunk unless I’ve had at least a case and a half.’ I don’t think he even went to the bathroom.”
Perhaps as impressive as the great hitter’s gastric capacity is the volume of his bladder; even keeping the seal intact after a sixer is cause for celebration. But after a case or more? Epic. If true, this is more amazing than the time I ate my weight at Godfather’s pizza. It’s more amazing than the time I saved those old people from that nursing home fire.
As if that’s not enough, Sunny star recounted for Jimmy Fallon a story Boggs–who appeared in the episode in question–shared in which he took down 107 barley sodas in the course of a day. I’m reasonably sure that’s impossible, but I can’t discount the power of that glorious mustache; perhaps it served as a filter of sorts.
But as much as like to see for myself what kind of beer-drinking mettle Boggs truly possesses, I think I’d do well to avoid Wrigley Field as the venue. Can you imagine the cost of such a display? At $8.50 a pop, you’d be looking at anywhere from $544 (64 beers) and $909.50 (107), and that’s before tip. And if prices really do go up to $10, well…
And wait, wasn’t Boggs known for eating chicken before every game. Beer, chicken, Red Sox? Something sounds familiar here. Like most legends, there’s probably a bit of wiggle room between the truth and the tale, but the truth isn’t nearly as fun. Of course, it’s not nearly as damaging to your liver and various other internal organs either.
Just know that if you ever find yourself out on the town and you run into Wade Boggs, don’t offer to pick up the tab.