Wade Boggs played in 2,440 regular season baseball games in the majors, stepped to the plate 10,740 times, recorded 3,010 hits off some of the best pitchers to ever grace an MLB uniform and won two World Series championships. By baseball standards, he is a legend.
And yet, a baseball field in the middle of the country still managed to give him the chills.
Boggs, an investor in the All-Star Ballpark Heaven project, made his first trip ever to the “Field of Dreams” on Thursday morning, saying the site of the Field gave him “the biggest amount of goosebumps you could ever imagine.”
Joined by All-Star Ballpark Heaven developers Denise and Mike Stillman and current landowners Don and Becky Lansing, Boggs told the small crowd of area residents and youth athletes gathered that people doubted him throughout his playing career, saying he’d never play in the bigs, let alone make it to Cooperstown, home of the Hall of Fame.
“Don’t tell me I can’t do anything,” Boggs said. “I proved a lot of people wrong.”
Boggs appeared to take that same attitude towards opponents of the project.
“Don’t tell me it can’t be done,” Boggs said. “Because they told me I’ll never make it to the Hall of Fame. I’ll never make it to the big leagues. Don’t tell me this can’t be done.”
Boggs even went so far as to say that he predicts two players who will one day show their talents at All-Star Ballpark Heaven tournaments will eventually be enshrined in the Hall.
“I hope I’m around to see it, because when they are (enshrined) I’ll give them they’re Hall of Fame ring,” he said.
The former Red Sox, Yankee and Devil Ray also feels that the complex in Dyersville would hold advantages over the same project to which many compare it — Cooperstown’s Dreams Park.
“Why go from California to New York when you can make a stop in Iowa?” Boggs said. “When you’re from Texas, you don’t need to go to New York. Come to Iowa. We would love to have you.”
Joining Boggs at the Field Thursday morning was former MLB pitcher Ken Sanders, who pitched for 10 different teams and recorded 86 saves from 1964-76. Sanders, who lives in Milwaukee, is the real estate consultant for current owners Don and Becky Lansing.
Sanders played catch and threw light batting practice to some area residents, including children.
He told the Commercial after the festivities that, if the project goes through, he doesn’t think spectators will even be able to see All-Star Ballpark Heaven’s fields when standing on the original movie site, an idea which runs counter to those who believe the complex will take away from the Field’s mystique.
He also lauded the Stillmans.
“The first time we (Sanders and the Lansings) met the Stillmans, we felt they were the right ones, the new custodians of the field,” he said.
For full coverage of the day’s events, including some area citizens’ reactions, read the Nov. 14 edition of the Commercial.