Cleat Geeks

What Does an Athlete Need to do to Get His Number Retired?

According to Sean McAdam, under John Harrington’s direction, the Red Sox drew up a list of qualifications, that a Red Sox player must have in order to have their number retired by the Boston Red Sox. Those qualification included; must have spent at least 10 years with the Red Sox, must be a member of the national Hall of Fame, and strangest of all, must have “finished” his career with the Red Sox.

With these qualifications, the organization twisted itself into various positions to work around the restrictive language. Carlton Fisk didn’t finish his career with the Red Sox . . . until the Red Sox hired him as a “consultant” so as to justify retiring his number.

It was announced that the Red Sox will indeed retire the #26 of Wade Boggs. Since retiring after 1999, Boggs has had no role or association, formal or otherwise with the Red Sox, so the decision to honor him and retire No. 26 carries with it no silly strings. Boggs is being honored for having been a great player in his time with the Red Sox — which is as it should be.

So it got me thinking. What does an athlete need to do in order to have his/her number retired? Here are some questions I would love to have our fans give their opinions on;

  1. Do they need to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame?
  2. Do they need to hold a club record? Such as most doubles or most strikeouts or best OBP?
  3. Do they need to spend 10 years or more with that club?

Going back to Boggs, he fits the bill on all three of these qualifications. Boggs has the most 200-hit seasons in Red Sox history with seven. He spent 11 seasons with the club before signing with the rival Yankees. And Boggs was inducted into Cooperstown a decade ago, and unlike recent inductees, Jim Rice and Pedro Martinez, wasn’t immediately given the honor of a retired number. He posted a .338 lifetime average with the Red Sox, collected 2,098 hits and reached base at a .428 clip. While with the Red Sox, he led the American League in on-base percentage six times, won five batting titles and twice led the league in runs scored, doubles, walks and OPS. He won six Silver Sluggers and was named to eight All-Star teams.

Lastly, with the ties cut from the previous regime, does this open the door for the Red Sox to retire additional numbers and names like Rodger Clemens?

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