Remembering the 1984 San Diego Padres
ALAN WIGGINS- SECOND BASE
The life of Alan Wiggins was a very complicated one indeed. He was an essential part of the Padres 1984 team as his speed was game-changing.
He lost his life way too young, but his legacy lives on with his daughter, who is a great professional athlete herself (Candice Wiggins WNBA), and his son, who has played basketball professionally around the world.
Alan Wiggins was drafted in the first round (8th overall) by the California Angels in the 1977 draft. After only a season and a half, the Angels released him, and he was picked up by the Los Angeles Dodger as a minor league free agent. In 1980 for the Lodi Dodgers, Wiggins snatched 120 bases and caught the eye of then-Padres GM Jack McKeon. The Padres drafted Wiggins from the Dodgers via the Rule 5 draft on December 8, 1980.
Wiggins spent five entire years with the Friars and recorded 1,400 at-bats. He hit .260 career with four home runs and 71 runs batted in. Wiggins also swiped 171 total bases as a Padre and had a career on-base percentage of .335. The 1984 season was quickly Wiggins’ best season in the major leagues. He played in 158 games and stole 70 bases that year while hitting .258. Wiggins stole a record five bags in a game on May 17, 1984.
Wiggins, in front of Tony Gwynn, created headaches for many teams in the National League. Wiggins went 8-for-22 in the World Series (.364) but only managed one stolen base. He played well, but the hill was just too high to climb. The middle of the order let the Padres down in that series.
The infielder came to the Padres with a history of substance abuse and relapsed two weeks into the 1985 season. He was suspended by the Padres and was never reactivated by the team again. On June 27, 1985, Wiggins was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Roy Lee Jackson and Richard Caldwell. The Padres mostly just washed their hands of the promising lead-off hitter.
Wiggins lasted three seasons with the Orioles but never was an everyday player. After the 1987 season, Wiggins was released by the Orioles and never played pro ball again.
Allan Wiggins passed away in 1991 at a Los Angeles hospital, reportedly due to complications from HIV/AIDS. He has the dubious distinction of being the first professional baseball player to die from the disease.
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James was born and raised in America’s Finest City. He is a passionate baseball fan with even more passion towards his hometown Padres. Editor-In-Chief of EastVillageTimes.com. Always striving to bring you the highest quality in San Diego Sports News. Original content, with original ideas, that’s our motto. Enjoy.
I just happened upon this article and I’ve got those memories coming back too. I was a 21-yr old punk rocker and surfer from Pacific Beach. I was also a pretty good pitcher and have loved baseball all my life.
I remember traffic just stopped on Ingraham St where I lived and people getting out of their cars to celebrate with the other motorists. Neighbors all running out of their apartments and houses. The whole city was partying!
What I remember the most was Tony Gwynn. Seemingly every damn day, 3 for 5, 3 for 5, 4 for 5, 2 for 4, and on and on. I’ve always been a big box score nut and every morning I’d have to get the San Diego Union and I’d go straight to the boxes and straight to Tony Gwynn’s line. Even if I already knew what he had! He was truly one of the greatest hitters of all time. Top 10, easily.
I miss surfing Blacks Beach every day at dawn, and I miss watching Tony Gwynn hit the ball wherever he wanted to put it. He could hit it into a bucket.
Cheers, Joey Coma.
thank you for the read and comments
Great write-up. Brings back a lot of memories. I went to more games that year than any year before or after, or ever will.
Yesterday I watched the 5th game of the playoffs with the Cubs (on Youtube). I never saw it on TV before as I was fortunate to be in the front row, right above Florence Henderson before she sang the National Anthem (the tickets for that game were easier to get because no one thought they would make it to game 5 after losing the first 2).
To me, the smash by Tony Gwynn through/over Ryne Sandberg was more important than Garvey’s HR the game before, yet Steverino gets all the cred.
In fact, Garvey was average at best. He had about a net 1.5 WAR over 5 years! That is 0.3 WAR per year, as the highest paid player. Yet he batted 3rd or 4th! This seems eerily similar to Hosmer………