Hall of Famer Wade Boggs is one of only 33 players in baseball history to eclipse 3,000 career hits, doing so with the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays in 1999. However, leading up to the milestone, Boggs nearly committed assault instead of history.
Recently, Boggs revealed that, while sitting at 2,999 hits, a poorly timed joke from then-manager Larry Rothschild almost made the multiple-time batting champion flip his lid.
"Larry goes, 'I'm going to pinch-hit for you,'" Boggs told Tricia Whitaker of Bally Sports. "I said, 'Larry, we will go down into this tunnel right now, and I will beat you with this bat.'"
Rothschild quickly cleared the air, saying he was only trying to lighten the mood ahead of arguably one the most stressful moment of Boggs' career. Boggs confirmed that the joke, while good-natured, wasn't needed ahead of an at-bat he waited his "whole career" for.
What followed was an at-bat that even Hollywood couldn't have scripted. After the banter with Rothschild, Boggs stepped to the plate and smashed a home run over the right-field fence at Tropicana Field to reach baseball immortality.
"Right when I made contact, I thought, 'Well, I'm not getting that ball back,'" Boggs said.
At the time, Boggs became the first player in baseball history to tally hit No. 3,000 with a home run, a feat which Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter have since repeated.
Fittingly, Boggs' home run to reach 3,000 hits was the final long ball of his storied career. He would record 10 more hits over the Rays' last 10 games before retiring at the end of the year. Six years later, Boggs earned induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first ballot.
On Sunday, 23 years after having his number retired by the club, Boggs became the second member of the Rays Hall of Fame, joining the late Don Zimmer.