Wade Boggs made a lot of news over the winter, as details of his long-term affair with Margo Adams dragged on, including an interview with her in Penthouse magazine. She sued him in court, but largely struck out. The season started with two presidents watching the Opening Day game in Baltimore. George H. W. Bush brought Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak as his guest. The game ran to 11 innings before the Orioles won it, 5-4. Both presidents had long since departed the park. The Red Sox have a history of underperforming the year after they make the playoffs, and with a 1-4 start even before their first game at Fenway, but a 6-6 record by April 19 was good enough to put them in first place and they held a slim half-game lead for most of May. One epic collapse, surrendering the largest lead in team history, hit on June 4. The Red Sox led the Blue Jays 10-0 after six innings – but Toronto scored two in the top of seventh, four in the eighth, and five in the ninth, taking an 11-10 lead. An Ernie Whitt grand slam off Lee Smith did most of the damage. Nick Esasky walked, was sacrificed to second, and scored on Jody Reed’s single in the bottom of the ninth, sending them game into overtime. Smith gave up two more runs in the top of the 12th and the Red Sox couldn’t come back. The loss dropped them to 5 ½ games out of first. There was a real shock a week after the All-Star Game. Former Angels pitcher Donnie Moore shot his wife (she survived), then fatally shot himself. It was Moore who had been one strike away from winning the ALCS in 1986, only to have Dave Henderson homer and ultimately win the game on a sac fly off of Moore in extra innings. The hitting machine kept hitting: Wade Boggs added another 205 hits to his growing total, the seventh season in a row he’d had 200 or more hits. No one had ever done it before. His .330 average was behind both Kirby Puckett and Carney Lansford (he was third in the league), but for the fifth year in a row Boggs led the league in on-base percentage. He again led the league in runs scored. Leading Boston in both home runs and runs batted in was a one-year wonder, first baseman Nick Esasky, who had 30 homers and 108 RBIs. Dewey – Dwight Evans – was second in both, with an even 20 HRs and an even 100 ribbies. The Red Sox finished six games behind the Toronto Blue Jays, in third place with an 83-79 season. As the decade of the 1980s ended, it still stands as the only one which saw neither the Red Sox nor Yankees franchise win a world championship title.

By Bill Nowlin

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