On this day back in 1997, Yankees’ third baseman Wade Boggs made his pitching debut. Facing off against the Angels in Anaheim Stadium, the 39-year-old threw 16 knuckleballs and one fastball in a scoreless eighth inning. He gave up no hits, one walk and struck out Todd Greene to end the inning.
The Angels were coasting to an eventual 12-4 win and had beaten up on starter David Wells. Joe Torre wanted to save his bullpen due to the obvious loss and a doubleheader coming up. After initially considering Charlie Hayes to pitch, Torre was told by several players that Boggs had a nasty knuckleball. He was skeptical about approaching him about it, but eventually asked. Boggs’ reaction? “He ran down to the bullpen,” Torre said.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do in my career and I never really had the opportunity. Then I started feeling like Phil Niekro. I was Phil Niekro and Charlie Hough all rolled into one. It was great. I was glad it worked out.” -Wade Boggs
He would pitch one more time with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He ended his 18 year career going 0-0 with a 3.86 ERA, two K’s and a 1.714 WHIP in 2.1 innings pitched.