Alan's moment in the spotlight was brief but memorable. In 1983, his first full season in the majors, he hit leadoff and stole 66 bases and was voted the Padres' MVP by his teammates. The next year he was moved from the outfield to second base, stole a club-record 70 bases and scored 106 runs. San Diego won its first National League pennant that year but lost to the Detroit Tigers in a five-game World Series. "Without Alan Wiggins, we don't win anything," says Padres manager Bruce Bochy, a catcher on the '84 team. "He was the guy who ignited us."
On April 25, 1985, Alan failed to show for a game in Los Angeles. Two days later he checked into the Hazelden Foundation, a drug-rehab center in Center City, Minn. It was his second such visit in three years. (He had spent 30 days in rehab in '82, after an arrest for cocaine possession.) After a month at Hazelden and a month with the Padres' Triple A affiliate in Las Vegas, he was traded to Baltimore, where he spent 2 1/2 seasons. On Aug. 31, 1987, he was suspended indefinitely by the commissioner's office for reportedly failing a drug test.
His rise and fall as a player was how most obituaries summed up his life 3 1/2 years later, after AIDS, most likely contracted from intravenous drug use, had reduced his 6'2" frame to 70 pounds. There was little mention of the clubhouse intellectual who could discuss religion, supply-side economics and African-American history; who could swiftly solve the complicated math problems that pitcher Eric Show, a former physics major known as the Professor, drew up on the clubhouse blackboard. And there was little mention of the husband and father who loved his family.
"I know my dad had a lot of personal problems," says Candice, "but I also know he really loved us." She knows, too, that her dad was dedicated to baseball from his youth. "That's where I really see the similarities between Alan and Candice," says Don, who grew closer to Candice and her two siblings after his brother died. (Candice's brother, Alan Jr., is a year older than she is). "Once they locked into something, they would do whatever it took to improve their game, to be the best athlete."
A few years after Alan died, Angela signed up Cassandra, then a sixth-grader, for rec basketball. Candice, a six-year-old second-grader, begged to be included. So Angela fudged Candice's age and got her on a team of third- and fourth-graders. That first year she scored one basket all season. The next season she dominated the older kids, scoring 32 points in one game.
Angela pushed all three of her children to work hard at basketball, waking them at 5 a.m. so they could shoot baskets in the driveway of their Poway home. "Even though she was smaller and younger than me, Candice couldn't stand to lose to me in one-on-one," says Cassandra, who played for two years at NYU before graduating last summer. In eighth grade Candice was the only girl on the San Diego Rising Stars AAU team for which her brother also played. She started; he didn't. "She was better than a lot of the dudes on the team," says Alan, a 6'8" sophomore and the starting center at the University of San Francisco. "If we needed a three-point shot, we'd go to her."
In four years at La Jolla Country Day, where she also was a standout in volleyball and track, Wiggins averaged 30.1 points, 11.6 rebounds, 6.7 steals and 4.4 assists. She led the Torreys to two Class 5 state titles and two Class 4 state finals. In her senior year she was named Ms. California Basketball. But she has rarely ever been satisfied with her performance. "She would score 40, and the first thing she'd think was, 'God, I missed four free throws, and I turned the ball over!'" says La Jolla Country Day coach Terri Bamford. "That's going to drive her to be one of the best players in the country."
Her exacting standards, it should be noted, do not get in the way of her having a good time on the floor. "There are a lot of competitive people on this team, but what separates her is she gets so vocal and emotional about it," says junior guard Clare Bodensteiner. "She gets so excited about stuff, sometimes I find myself laughing at her."
Wiggins knows she gets that from her dad, though he wasn't as gregarious as she is. "One thing I've learned from my dad's absence is to really appreciate what you have," she says. "Appreciate life, appreciate all the God-given talents you have, appreciate your family, because you don't know what can happen."
She often thinks about fate. "I have friends who have fathers who are alive but aren't present in their lives at all," says Wiggins. "Maybe they have bad relationships with their fathers, but there is time to fix it. There's nothing I can do about my relationship with my dad."