Wade Boggs | 30 Years Ago this Month
Wade Boggs’s longtime girlfriend reveals a world of infidelity, partying, kindergarten antics, and racial stereotypes … a world where the first commandment is, it’s not whether you win or lose-it’s how you play around.
On November 11, 1988, a judge in Southern California ruled that a $12 million lawsuit filed against Wade Boggs of the Boston Red Sox by Margo Adams, a Southern California mortgage banker, had enough merit to head toward trial.
Their romance stunned the baseball community and had reporters across the country in a front-page frenzy. Head-lines nationwide splashed details of how one of baseball’s greatest hitters led a double life. With five batting titles since 1983 and four All-Star game appearances, experts consider Wade Boggs to be the best hitter in baseball, frequently placing him in the same class as Ty Cobb and the game’s all-time heroes. In 1988, Boggs had his sixth-consecutive season with 200 or more hits, a feat never accomplished by Cobb, Babe Ruth, or any other player.
While traveling with his mistress on 64 road trips during four seasons, Boggs was able to preserve a semblance of a happy marriage and home in Boston. Adams, known throughout baseball as the pseudonymous Mrs. Wade Boggs, met Boggs at the beginning of the ’84 baseball season. After a month of his persistent courtship, they embarked on a love affair set against the backdrop of major-league baseball.
For four years Adams breathed the rarefied air of a sport watched and followed by more than 100 million people every year. While traveling with Wade and the Red Sox, she frequented night spots that were off-limits to players’ wives, heard stories that never made the papers, and saw the scandals that will shock even the most perceptive observer of the game.
She had a clear view of the all-American game in the harsh spotlight of reality — where wins and losses finished second to infidelity and racial stereotypes, and where runs, hits, and errors became less prevalent than partying, groupies, and various childish antics.
America first heard of the scandal that shook baseball in July 1988, when Adams learned through Red Sox players that Boggs was seeing other women. Eventually their breakup led Adams to file a $6 million lawsuit (later upgraded to $12 million) against Boggs, after monthlong negotiations failed to bring an amicable settlement.
I telephoned Adams for five months, attempting to gain her confidence. Not until I read the lawsuit and spoke (off the record) with several major-league baseball players did I realize the validity and magnitude of this story. And only after talking with Boggs’s family, friends, and teammates (all of whom knew Adams well) and Adams’s family and friends (all of whom knew Boggs well) did I ask Adams to let me write her story.
Except for an occasional interview given only to counter allegations made by Boggs, Adams decided to go into hiding. She had to change her phone number three times because of obscene and threatening callers. I have listened repeatedly to those calls captured by her answering machine, searching for their reason, each with the same message: “Stay away from a book, or else.” And although the callers seem to be different, each gave a chilling account of very private times shared by Adams and Boggs, personal details of their romance only a few people could know.
On many occasions during their relationship, Adams struggled with the reality of Boggs being married to another woman, a woman who was at his home in Boston taking care of his two children. But during the time they spent together, Boggs made Adams feel as if she was the one he loved and wanted to be married to — at least that was what his words and actions always told her.
The emotional roller coaster began when Debbie Boggs (Wade’s legal wife) found a travel itinerary belonging to Adams in an issue of Penthouse magazine. Suspecting Boggs was up to his old tricks, an irate Debbie attempted several times over the next few days to reach Adams through her travel agency. Adams never returned her calls, later learning that Boggs had confessed to his wife. He explained it by saying it was nothing more than a one-night stand — a cover Adams and Boggs lived under for four years.
Professional athletes often strive for the reputation Wade Boggs developed in his Major League career. As with sports, though, it always comes with a price.
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