Charity work a joy for Boggs, wife

Charity work a joy for Boggs, wife

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Wade Boggs is a Hall of Famer -- on and off the field.

The body of work Boggs created on the field was recognized in 2005 when he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, his body of work off the field continues to grow through the charitable work being done by he and his wife, Debbie.

Talk to Boggs about the Tampa Bay Baseball for Kids Weekend that he and Debbie hosted in the Tampa Bay area this weekend -- and have hosted since 2001 -- and it becomes clear how much the event means to him. He seemed truly humbled by the turnout of former Major Leaguers and celebrities.

"It's a good time for various Hall of Famers who come back for this thing," Boggs said. "And the support we get from Major League Baseball is great. It's terrific. When you look at some of the names who take part in this event, it's amazing. It's a virtual who's who: Brooks Robinson, Bob Feller, the list goes on and on."

Boggs is especially complimentary of his wife for her contribution to the workload to put on the event that benefits All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg and the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association. Boggs said the work has been rewarding, as well as something the couple has enjoyed due to their attachment to the area where both grew up. Both are graduates of Tampa's Plant High School and the couple still lives in the Tampa Bay area.

"We really have enjoyed the event," Boggs said. "It's been a community effort by Debbie and myself, to take control of the event and try to make it grow. Whether that's trying to get bigger-name celebrities to come in, or the legwork behind the scenes, particularly in your local area."

Persuading former players and celebrities to attend one's event can often mean negotiating a series of trades for potential auction items -- such as autographed bats or balls -- or reciprocating by agreeing to attend somebody else's event if they agree to attend yours.

"They bring balls and various things like that for their golf tournaments, organizations and events," Boggs said. "Collecting items for an event is a year-round thing. Inside the clubhouse, it turns into an autograph session. The good part about it is that all of it's for charity, so everybody wins."

In addition to the fruits of the tournament, in the way of benefiting charity, Boggs also makes it clear the actual events are something in which he enjoys participating. He still likes mingling with the fans, and even after all those years of playing in the Major Leagues, he still seemed genuinely flattered to have fans ask for his autograph.

Most of all, Boggs enjoys being part of the fraternity of Major League players. And getting the chance to dust off his glove and bat and play the game he played so well -- even in an abridged fashion -- is not such a bad way to spend the day.

"It's a fun time," Boggs said. "I love it."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.