In just about half an hour, talk show host Arsenio Hall will introduce her to his studio audience as “the most notorious woman in America,” and right now Margo Adams, dressed in a body-hugging scarlet knit, is backstage getting ready.
“Did you do Sally?” asks the makeup artist as she dabs at Adams’ cheekbones.
“Sally?” Adams says, flashing her blue eyes up ward.
“Sally Jessy Raphael.”
“Oh, no,” Adams says. “I did Sonia. Then Larry King.”
“Ohhh,” comes the response. “I must have caught you on one of those.”
Of course, if you missed Arsenio, or Sonia Live on CNN, or Larry, or Phil, there’s always Geraldo.
Geraldo is taping Adams the next day in New York. Then it’s on to Miami, Tampa, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland. Before Los Angeles, which was Monday, there was Boston on Friday and then before that there was the news conference in the “Bimbo Room” of Penthouse magazine headquarters in New York.
But so far at least, maybe Boston was the biggest hit because Boston is Red Sox country. Penthouse sold out in Boston. And undoubtedly that’s because Margo Adams, erstwhile Orange County mortgage broker turned Penthouse show-and-tell sensation, may be to the Boston Red Sox what Jessica Hahn was to PTL Ministries.
Here’s the story, the details of which are not in dispute. Adams, who lives in Costa Mesa, spies American League batting champion Wade Boggs at an Anaheim restaurant in April of 1984. She likes him. He’s cute.
Next thing you know, Boggs joins Adams, her girlfriend and one of his teammates for dessert.
By the following night, “I was completely enthralled,” Adams tells Penthouse. She went for it. So did he.
It was sex, it was love, it was sex. It was 64 road trips together during four seasons while Debbie Boggs and the couple’s two young children were ensconced elsewhere.
But, alas, it ended abruptly last May. Adams says Boggs reneged on an oral contract to compensate her for wages lost during all those road trips. She sought solace at her attorney’s office, to the tune of a palimony lawsuit seeking some $6 million (a figure that the 4th District Court of Appeal has reduced to a fraction).
And now Penthouse. Adams says Boggs loved her, that she was no one-night stand. She says that for an honorarium of some $500,000, she is seeking to set the record straight, in a two-part interview with semi-nude color glossies to illustrate her points.
“I was the one who took him to each of those playoff games in ’86, not his wife. It was the way he wanted it.”
“Wade has to eat chicken every day. There are hits in chicken.”
“His (batting) average when (his wife) was with him was about .221, and his average when I was with him was .341.”
“Wade believes that sex (before a game) weakens your legs, and he needs strong legs to play third base.”
“Our favorite pizza was double-anchovy pizza . . . I put on a sexy little outfit, a little apron and garter and stockings, and served him his pizza.”
“He could recite almost every line of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ in all those cute voices.”
In short, Margo Adams, statuesque brunette of 33, vixen in the clubhouse, is making trouble, impugning that hallowed baseball tradition of sleeping around. And inquiring minds want to hear all about it.
Adams’ interview with Arsenio Hall is over. She thinks it went well. She made a few serious points, about accepting responsibility and learning from her mistakes, and she rolled with the rest of it.
Like when Hall asks his guest about her relationship with another well-known ballplayer, Steve Garvey. “Between Wade and Steve, who has a better swing?”
Adams grins, adjusts herself slightly and leans forward as she intones, “Well, Steve has bigger forearms, but Wade has a better batting average.”
Boom. The studio audience likes it. There are hoots. By the time Hall mentions Adams’ semi-nude photographs appearing in next month’s final installment of the Penthouse interview, men in the audience are applauding.
Oh, but there is one thing that Hall would like to clear up about the Penthouse interview. What was that about not wearing panties?
“One particular time,” Adams says without missing a beat, “I went to the game and I forgot to wear underwear. Wade went 4 for 5 that day.”
For those of you who don’t know how anybody can forget to wear underwear, as Adams explains later over a dinner of steak tartare in Beverly Hills, it’s because she wears G-string panties.
“Sure, it’s embarrassing to talk about these things,” she says, “but I’m telling the truth. I’m just telling the story the way it happened. . . . “If I (only) wanted to get money from Wade, and I wanted to become public and do all this, why in the world would I have gone through what I went through with him? I mean, I could have done that after the first year of dating him.”
Instead, Adams says, she ended the affair after his boyish charm began an ugly metamorphosis into immaturity. Or maybe it was the other women. (Boggs admits to further philandering, pre- and post-Adams.) Or maybe it was just time.
In any case, Adams filed suit three weeks following the breakup. But that, she explains, was after Boggs called the FBI to report what he called an extortion attempt.
Adams denies anything remotely suggestive of extortion, instead arguing that she and Boggs had an unwritten agreement whereby he would compensate her for the loss of an income she claims was in six figures. At the end of the affair, she asked him to pay up, to the tune of $100,000, and gave him 90 days.
That’s when Boggs called his agent, Alan Nero, who went through the roof.
“Well, what would you do when someone is trying to extort you?” Nero says rather acidly in an interview from Tampa, where he is renegotiating Boggs’ contract with the Red Sox.
“She gave (Boggs) a time limit and an ‘or else,’ ” he says. “So what you do is you seek advice from the people around you. You call the authorities.”
Nero says Margo Adams is like Glenn Close’s character in the movie “Fatal Attraction.” Scary. In need of help.
“We have tried very hard not to stoop to her level,” he adds, almost as an aside. “We don’t want to inflict the same pain on others that she is. She admitted to having a relationship with Steve Garvey. That’s another bandwagon to jump on. Now, I would suggest, that is just a start.”
Tsk. Tsk. It gets even uglier.
Jennifer King, Boggs’ Tustin attorney, calls herself a “bimbo buster,” and says Adams has made disparaging remarks about parts of Debbie Boggs’ anatomy.
Debbie Boggs, meantime, has become the Lee Hart (Mrs. Gary) of the sports world, announcing that she is standing by her man. Nero says “they are going to survive this.” King says the Adams affair has strengthened the Boggs marriage.
As for Boggs himself, the 30-year-old third baseman has ‘fessed up, in bits and pieces, to much of what Adams is saying, with the notable exception of the oral agreement part.
He notes that maybe he suffers from some sort of sexual addiction. At least, that’s a theory that made sense to him when he heard it described on the Geraldo show.
This is how Boggs explained it under oath to Adams’ attorney: “If you have the same biological functions as every male in the United States, things happen. And whether or not you can call it a disease, a drive or anything, I don’t feel I was any different during the four years as anyone else.”
And this is how he elaborated on the theory to reporters: “One thing has to be put in perspective. I did not commit a crime. It’s not like I did drugs, or shot someone, or ended up in prison. You know there are a lot of red-blooded American males out there. . . . “
Well, exactly , adds King, his attorney.
“I would say that a whole lot of America has been in a similar situation, where they made a mistake, where they regret it,” she says. “The difference is, Wade is a major baseball star, so everybody gets to hear about it. This is one of the reasons that this has such an appeal to people. People identify with it. They think, ‘Whew. That has happened to me. I’ve been there.’ And then they think, ‘Thank God, it wasn’t with Margo.’ ”
Carol Morales is Margo Adams’ best friend, one who has traveled with the Red Sox herself, and one who says she has seen the things about which Adams speaks. She’s a businesswoman, in advertising, who lives in Sausalito.
Morales feels her friend has been unjustly maligned. Maybe it is the “opposites attract” theory, she says; maybe that’s why an intelligent, successful woman like Margo would go for a “male bimbo like Wade.”
“He was good to Margo,” Morales says. “And he was always very nice to me and polite to me. I’m just saying that he is a weak nothing.”
And Cammie Mankowski, another friend who used to work with Adams at the mortgage company, says that in all the brouhaha over the Penthouse article and the lawsuit, nobody has noticed that Adams is just a romantic at heart, a woman close to her family and generous with her friends.
“What people are saying about her is just so far from the truth,” Mankowski says. “Every road trip she went on, she bought me something for (my) baby. She didn’t have to do that. . . . Wade has lied, and she has to set the record straight. He backed her into a wall.”
Which is what Adams says, sort of. She is not a victim, she says, of Wade Boggs, or Penthouse magazine, or anything else.
If she has said it once, this born-again paramour has said it time and again: She should have known better. She knew he had a wife. And married men who cheat on their wives will cheat on you.
As for her contract with Penthouse magazine, she says, why not?
“I chose to go to Penthouse,” Adams says. “I am happy with my decision. They didn’t exploit me. I negotiated the contract myself. I asked Mr. (Bob) Guccione, ‘Why are the pictures important?’ He said, ‘Margo, this is a men’s magazine. They want to see what Wade Boggs saw. This is fantasy.’ That doesn’t make my story any less true.”
In fact, Adams adds, it was Playboy magazine that came to her first, last November, and offered her big bucks to pose semi-nude.
“They were very interested in the pictures,” she says. “They kept telling me that they would get me all sorts of contacts, acting parts, things like that. They didn’t seem to be as interested in my story. What they didn’t understand is that I don’t want to be on ‘Dynasty.’ You know what I mean?”
Penthouse, Adams says, told her story. And, just coincidentally, they also offered her more money.
The Margo Adams story, it seems, just won’t go away.
Reporters all over the country are writing about the dust it is kicking up on and off the baseball diamond.
Players and fans are riled about Adams’ account of how Boggs described some of his teammates. Left fielder Jim Rice: “Thinks he’s white.” Former first baseman Bill Buckner: “A gimp.” Pitcher Roger Clemens: “Mr. Perfect.” First baseman Dwight Evans: a prude and a tattletale.
And on the home front, the Boston Herald has invited its readers to write letters of advice to Debbie Boggs. The paper calls this feature “Debbie’s Dilemma.”
Drew Lane and Zip Zipfel, the morning deejays on Boston FM radio station WAAF, have penned “The Ballad of Wade and Margo,” sung to the tune of “The Ballad of John and Yoko.” They play it a lot.
“Christ, ya know she was easy. You know how hard it can be. ‘Cause baseball is bo-ring, and I’m always horn-y.”
Boggs complains that he is tired of seeing his name in the news but that he forgets the scandal once he’s playing ball. He says he raised his average 40 points after Adams filed her lawsuit last June.
Adams attorney James McGee of Irvine, meantime, says he’s undaunted by last month’s appellate court decision against his client. He says he will refile, seeking even more money, and plans to call more than 20 baseball players and managers to testify.
He and Adams want to take the case to the jury. McGee says that when a jury notes that Boggs has lied and Adams has not, they can’t help but decide in her favor.
And there’s yet another court date in Adams’ future, this one March 16, when she must show a judge in Newport Beach that she has paid restitution of $4,871 to El Dorado Bank in connection with her guilty plea to eight counts of misdemeanor credit-card fraud in late 1984. According to the Orange County district attorney, that involves charges Adams made at Nordstrom stores and at Knott’s Berry Farm with a MasterCard that wasn’t her own.
Meanwhile, Margo Adams says she is getting on with her life. She says she is looking forward to starting back to work as a mortgage broker in Orange County.
OK, sure, she says, she may do a book. But she’s not making a career out of notoriety.
“I don’t think of myself that way,” she says. “I’m Go-Go (the nickname her nieces gave her). I’m not Margo Adams .”