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Wiggins Is Missing--Padres Miss Him as Dodgers Win, 6-3

April 26, 1985|GORDON EDES | Times Staff Writer

The San Diego Padres, with leadoff man Alan Wiggins AWOL and the rest of the lineup all but absent until the ninth inning, made their Dodger Stadium debut as defending National League champions an inauspicious one, losing, 6-3, to the Dodgers in front of 39,593 fans Thursday night.

The Padres, shut out twice on two-hitters last weekend by the Dodgers in San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium, were limited to four hits in eight innings by left-hander Rick Honeycutt, a once-a-week starter who has allowed just one earned run in his last 16 innings.

San Diego, with Steve Garvey collecting his third hit of the night, added two runs in the ninth off Tom Niedenfuer, but that wasn't enough to catch the Dodgers, who matched their season high in scoring.

After Mike Marshall hit his fourth home run of the season in the second, the Dodgers knocked out Padre starter Eric Show in a walk-filled, three-run sixth inning highlighted by Mike Scioscia's two-run bloop single.

The outcome of the game, however, was outweighed by the Padre concern over the absence of Wiggins, a last-second scratch from the starting lineup when he failed to show up at the ballpark.

By game's end, Wiggins' whereabouts were still unknown, and Padre traveling secretary John (Doc) Mattei had called local police and hospital emergency rooms in an effort to locate the San Diego second baseman, a graduate of Muir High and Pasadena City College who played in the Dodger organization until he was purchased by the Padres in December, 1980.

A Padre official said Wiggins, 27, was given his meal money in the downtown Biltmore Hotel, where the team was staying, on Thursday afternoon. A hotel bellboy, the official said, reportedly saw Wiggins leave the hotel by car at around 5 p.m., about the time the team bus left for Dodger Stadium.

A man who identified himself as Wiggins' father, Albert, was waiting outside the Padre clubhouse after the game with two of Wiggins' brothers. He told reporter Larry Weinbaum of the Escondido Times-Advocate that he was unaware that Alan was not at the game.

One of Wiggins' brothers, Keith, 14, told Weinbaum that he had spoken to Wiggins by telephone at the hotel at around 4:30 p.m.

"He said he would leave me tickets and see me at the end of the game," Keith Wiggins told Weinbaum. "He sounded like his normal self."

Padre Manager Dick Williams said he became aware of Wiggins' absence when batting practice started.

"About halfway through it I told Tim Flannery to hit in (Wiggins') spot," Williams said. "At the end of batting practice, I informed Timmy he was in the lineup."

Flannery went hitless in four trips and committed two errors at second base, though neither figured directly in the scoring.

"I'm as confused on it as everybody else," Williams said.

Asked what he could do at that point, Williams said: "I'm going to see my wife and mother. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.

"We've alerted police and checked the hospitals. They know where they can get ahold of us."

Padre General Manager Jack McKeon, at home in San Diego, was informed of Wiggins' absence during the game.

"I don't know a thing, I don't know what to think," McKeon told Times reporter Tom Friend. "I'm just concerned about him, I mean, foul play.

"Anything can happen . . . I'm trying to find out things right now."

Wiggins' teammate, Tony Gwynn, said he had not seen Wiggins since Wednesday's game in San Diego against the Atlanta Braves.

"I'm just like everybody else--a little worried about him," Gwynn said.

Wiggins, who signed a four-year, $2-million contract over the winter, came into the game batting .054 (2 for 37) and was hitless in his last 22 at-bats. He set a club record with 70 stolen bases last season but this season has been bothered by a strained ligament in his right knee, an injury he suffered when Cleveland's Brook Jacoby collided with him breaking up a double play in an exhibition game on March 30.

In August, 1982, Wiggins was suspended for 30 days by then-commissioner Bowie Kuhn, an action stemming from Wiggins' arrest on cocaine charges in a San Diego parking lot July 21 of that year.

Gwynn, asked if he thought Wiggins was distressed by his slump, said: "To tell you the truth, I think he's handled it pretty good. Going through a slump can be a mind-boggling thing if you let it.

"But we're talking like something's happened, something's wrong. I just want to know he's all right."

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