Alan Wiggins

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Alan Anthony Wiggins

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Biographical Information[edit]

"To not like Alan Wiggins, is to not know Alan Wiggins." - Tony Gwynn

A speedy outfielder turned second baseman, Alan Wiggins stole 70 bases in 1984 with the San Diego Padres. He was plagued by drug problems throughout his career, starting with an arrest for possession of marijuana while he was still in the minor leagues, in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, in 1980. This explained why he was left unprotected in the 1980 Rule V Draft in spite of his obvious talent, and was snatched up by the Padres. He made his debut with the team in 1982, shortly before Tony Gwynn, but on July 21st, he was arrested for cocaine possession and was suspended for 30 days. He got his problems under control in 1983 and had a very good season, hitting .276 and stealing 66 bases, which was the team record at the time. He started the year in left field but moved to first base in the second half when Steve Garvey was injured.

Before the 1984 season, the Padres acquired young Carmelo Martinez in a trade with the Chicago Cubs and moved him to left field, as they were not about to take first base away from Garvey. That forced Wiggins to play second base, and while his fielding was so-so, he had a great year as the team's lead-off hitter, with 75 walks and 174 hits, in addition to all the stolen bases. The Padres decided to release incumbent second baseman Juan Bonilla before the season to demonstrate that they believed Wiggins could handle the position, and he proved them right as they reached the postseason for the first time that year. Before the 1985 season, he was signed to a four-year contract worth $2.5 million, indicating he was seen as a cornerstone of the team's future, but he was injured in spring training, started off slowly, then had a relapse of his drug problems as he checked himself into a rehabilitation center at the end of April. Owner Joan Kroc was furious and vowed he would never play for the team again, and indeed he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles just as another suspension ended on July 27th.

He ended his career with the Orioles in 1987, as he never managed to find his hitting stroke again after leaving the Padres. His life then spiraled out of control and he died of AIDS in 1991 at age 32, the result of having been infected through intravenous drug use.

He left three young children behind. Two of them played professional basketball. His daughter, Candice, was a guard at Stanford University who later enjoyed an 8-year career in the WNBA. His son, Alan Jr., was a forward at the University of San Francisco who played professionally in several countries. His eldest daughter, Cassandra, played collegiately at New York University.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 1 (1984)
  • 50 Stolen Bases Seasons: 2 (1983 & 1984)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Fred O. Rodgers: "Alan Wiggins: A Tragic Hero", in Cecilia M. Tan, ed.: Pacific Ghosts, The National Pastime, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2019, pp. 70-73.

Related Sites[edit]