Iconic Red Sox hitter Wade Boggs was known for being superstitious. So superstitious, in fact, that “Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition” (Oxford University Press, 1997) by Stuart A. Vyse opens with a description of Boggs’ rituals. And in 2013, Men’s Fitness magazine included him on its 10 Most Superstitious Athletes list. His pregame rites took five hours to complete. Boggs said, “Where I bat, in what order, doesn’t make any difference to me. I just eat chicken, run my wind sprints at exactly 7:17 p.m. before every night game and make the sign of the Chai.”
Boggs, who retired after the 1999 season, believed that he played better after eating chicken, so he ate it daily for at least 20 years, calling himself a “chicketarian.” Out of gratitude for the exposure, the now-deceased Frank Perdue sent Boggs a six-month supply of the birds, which lasted only a month. One story reports that Boggs received one chicken recipe to every three autograph requests, but the eventual Hall of Famer tried new recipes only in the offseason to avoid jinxing himself. A friend began calling him Chicken Man, and in 1984 Boggs published a cookbook titled “Fowl Tips: My Favorite Chicken Recipes.” The book includes illustrations of chickens in action, drawn by Wade’s dad, Winn Boggs.
Here’s a summer recipe for you to try at home. It may not help your batting average, but it’s sure to be delicious.
Grilled Lemon Chicken
2-3 pounds chicken (whole) 2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper ½ teaspoon dry mustard
Few grains cayenne pepper ½ cup lemon juice
¼ cup hot water Few drops Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons fresh onion – gratedRotisserie (optional)
1. Melt butter in a sauce pan. Add the lemon juice to the butter and mix well. Stir into the butter and lemon mixture with a fork the paprika, sugar, salt, black pepper, dry mustard and cayenne pepper. Slowly add the ¼ cup water. Stir again. Add the Tabasco sauce, mixing well.
2. Place chicken on the rotisserie. Brush the lemon mixture over chicken before cooking and frequently while cooking.
3. Cook chicken for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Editor’s Note: Reduce cooking time to grill individual pieces of chicken rather than a whole bird.