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Encyclopedia > Pittsburgh drug trials

The Pittsburgh drug trials of 1985 were the catalyst for a baseball-related cocaine scandal which resulted in the harshest Major League Baseball penalties since the Black Sox scandal of 1919. Several Pittsburgh PiratesDale Berra, Lee Lacy, Lee Mazzilli, John Milner, Dave Parker, and Rod Scurry — and other notable major league players — Willie Mays Aikens, Vida Blue, Enos Cabell, Keith Hernandez, Jeffrey Leonard, Tim Raines, and Lonnie Smith — were called before a Pittsburgh grand jury. Their testimony led to the drug trials, which made national headlines in September 1985. This article is currently under construction // This year in baseball Events January 7 - Outfielder Lou Brock and knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm are elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America. ... Cocaine is a crystalline tropane alkaloid that is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant. ... Major League Baseball (MLB) is the highest level of play in North American professional baseball. ... 1919 Chicago White Sox team photo The Black Sox Scandal refers to a number of events that took place around and during the play of the 1919 World Series. ... The following are the baseball events of the year 1919 throughout the world. ... Major league affiliations National League (1887–present) Central Division (1994–present) Current uniform Retired Numbers 1, 4, 8, 9, 20, 21, 33, 40, 42 Name Pittsburgh Pirates (1891–present) Pittsburgh Innocents (1890) Pittsburg Alleghenies (1882–1889) (Also referred to as Infants in 1890) Ballpark PNC Park (2001–present) Three Rivers... Dale Anthony Berra (born December 13, 1956 in Ridgewood, New Jersey), is a former professional baseball player who played in the Major Leagues primarily as an infielder from 1977-1987. ... Leondaus Lee Lacy (born April 10, 1948 in Longview, Texas), is a former professional baseball player who played in the Major Leagues primarily as a utility man from 1972-1987. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... John David Milner (December 28, 1949 - January 4, 2000), also nicknamed The Mighty Hammer, was a left fielder/first baseman in Major League Baseball who played for the New York Mets (1971-77), Pittsburgh Pirates (1978-81, 1982) and Montreal Expos (1981-82). ... The name Dave Parker may refer to several notable individuals: Dave Parker, American baseball player Dave Parker, Canadian jazz musician with The Shuffle Demons Dave Parker, Samoan singer. ... Rodney Grant Scurry (March 17, 1956 - November 5, 1992) was a Major League Baseball relief pitcher who played for eight seasons. ... Willie Mays Aikens (born October 14, 1954 in Seneca, South Carolina) is a former first baseman in Major League Baseball who played for the California Angels (1977, 1979), Kansas City Royals (1980-1983) and Toronto Blue Jays (1984-1985). ... Vida Rochelle Blue Jr. ... Enos Cabell (1949- Present) played 15 seasons of Major League Baseball for the Baltimore Orioles, Houston Astros, San Francisco Giants, Detroit Tigers, and Los Angeles Dodgers. ... Keith Hernandez (born October 20, 1953 in San Francisco, California) is a former Major League Baseball first baseman, who played for the St. ... Jeffrey Leonard (born September 22, 1955 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is a former outfielder in Major League Baseball with a 14-year career from 1977 to 1990. ... Timothy Raines (born September 16, 1959 in Sanford, Florida), nicknamed Rock, is a former American left fielder in Major League Baseball known for his speed and ability to get on base. ... For other persons named Lonnie Smith, see Lonnie Smith (disambiguation). ... Nickname: Motto: Benigno Numine (With the Benevolent Deity) Location in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Coordinates: , Country United States Commonwealth Pennsylvania County Allegheny Founded November 25, 1758 Incorporated April 22, 1794 (borough)   March 18, 1816 (city) Government  - Mayor Luke Ravenstahl (D) Area  - City 151. ... A grand jury is a type of jury, in the common law legal system, which determines if there is enough evidence for a trial. ... Year 1985 (MCMLXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link displays 1985 Gregorian calendar). ...

Contents

Testimony

The players were granted immunity in exchange for their testimony. Ex-Pirate John Milner talked about getting amphetamines from Hall of Famers Willie Mays, and Willie Stargell. Milner added that he bought two grams of cocaine for $200 in the bathroom stalls at Three Rivers Stadium during a Pirates-Houston Astros game in 1980. Keith Hernandez revealed he'd used cocaine for three years. Hernandez added that about 40 percent of all Major League Baseball players were using cocaine at the time. Hernandez however, quickly backtracked by saying that he might have been "grossly wrong." Tim Raines told how he'd keep a gram of coke in his uniform pocket (as well as revealing that he snorted during games), and that he only slid into bases headfirst as not to break the vial. [1] John David Milner (December 28, 1949 - January 4, 2000), also nicknamed The Mighty Hammer, was a left fielder/first baseman in Major League Baseball who played for the New York Mets (1971-77), Pittsburgh Pirates (1978-81, 1982) and Montreal Expos (1981-82). ... Amphetamine is a synthetic drug originally developed (and still used) as an appetite suppressant. ... Willie Howard Mays, Jr. ... Wilver Dornell Willie Stargell (March 6, 1940 – April 9, 2001), nicknamed Pops in the later years of his career, was a professional baseball player who played his entire Major League career (1962-1982) with the Pittsburgh Pirates as an outfielder and first baseman. ... ISO 4217 Code USD User(s) the United States, the British Indian Ocean Territory,[1] the British Virgin Islands, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Panama, Caicos Islands, and the insular areas of the United States Inflation 2. ... Three Rivers Stadium was a multi-purpose sports stadium and event facility located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 1970 through 2000. ... Major league affiliations National League (1962–present) Central Division (1994–present) Current uniform Retired Numbers 24, 25, 32, 33, 34, 40, 42, 49 Name Houston Astros (1965–present) Houston Colt . ... This article is currently under construction // This year in baseball Events January 9 - Al Kaline and Duke Snider are elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America. ... The percent sign. ...


Testimony also revealed that Rod Scurry once went looking for cocaine during the late innings of a Pirates game. Drug dealers frequented the Pirates' clubhouse. Even the Pirate Parrot, Kevin Koch, was implicated for buying cocaine and introducing a few of the ballplayers to a local drug dealer. Pirate Parrot, the mascot for the Pittsburgh Pirates. ...


Verdict

Curtis Strong and six Pittsburgh men were convicted and found guilty of 11 counts of distributing cocaine. Strong received a 12-year prison sentence but was ultimately released after serving just four years. Dale Shiffman from Pittsburgh was indicted on 111 counts, pled guilty to 20, was sentenced to 12 years and served twenty-four months.


Ramifications

On February 28, 1986, Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth handed down suspensions to 11 players—seven for a full season. All avoided the suspensions by agreeing to donate a small percentage of their 1986 salaries to a drug program and do community service work. The players who were suspended for a full year were allowed to play under the condition that they donated 10 percent of their base salaries to drug-related community service, submitted to random drug testing, and contributed 100 hours of drug-related community service: February 28 is the 59th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is currently under construction // This year in baseball Events January 8 - Willie McCovey is the only player elected this year to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America, and becomes the 16th player elected in his first year of eligibility. ... In 1920, the owners of Major League Baseball, in order to reestablish confidence of fans in the sport following the Black Sox Scandal, established the office of Commissioner of Baseball. ... Ueberroth (front right) watches President Ronald Reagan throw the first pitch prior to a game. ... This article is currently under construction // This year in baseball Events January 8 - Willie McCovey is the only player elected this year to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America, and becomes the 16th player elected in his first year of eligibility. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...

The four players who were suspended for just 60 days were allowed to play if they donated 5 percent of base salaries and contributed 50 hours of drug-related community service: Pitcher Joaquín Andújar, with the Astros Joaquín Andújar [an-DOO-har] (born December 21, 1952 in San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic) is a former Major League Baseball right-handed starting pitcher who played for the Houston Astros (1976-81, 1988), St. ... Dale Anthony Berra (born December 13, 1956 in Ridgewood, New Jersey), is a former professional baseball player who played in the Major Leagues primarily as an infielder from 1977-1987. ... Enos Cabell (1949- Present) played 15 seasons of Major League Baseball for the Baltimore Orioles, Houston Astros, San Francisco Giants, Detroit Tigers, and Los Angeles Dodgers. ... Keith Hernandez (born October 20, 1953 in San Francisco, California) is a former Major League Baseball first baseman, who played for the St. ... Jeffrey Leonard (born September 22, 1955 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is a former outfielder in Major League Baseball with a 14-year career from 1977 to 1990. ... David Gene Parker (born June 9, 1951 in Calhoun, Missouri) is an American former player in Major League Baseball. ... For other persons named Lonnie Smith, see Lonnie Smith (disambiguation). ...

Peter Ueberroth also asked every player to submit to voluntary urine tests. Ultimately, the Players Association thwarted that plea. Al Holland (born August 16, 1952 in Roanoke, Virginia), is a former professional baseball player who pitched in the Major Leagues from 1977 and 1979-1987. ... Leondaus Lee Lacy (born April 10, 1948 in Longview, Texas), is a former professional baseball player who played in the Major Leagues primarily as a utility man from 1972-1987. ... Lary Alan Sorensen (born October 4, 1955 in Detroit, Michigan) is a former starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Milwaukee Brewers (1977-1980), St. ... Claudell Washington (born August 31, 1954 in Los Angeles, California) is a former right fielder in Major League Baseball who played for the Oakland Athletics (1974-76), Texas Rangers (1977-78), Chicago White Sox (1978-80), New York Mets (1980), Atlanta Braves (1981-86), New York Yankees (1987-88, 1990... The Major League Baseball Players Association (or MLBPA) is the union of professional major-league baseball players. ...


The dealers

Seven drug dealers pleaded guilty or were convicted of selling cocaine to players:

  • Shelby Greer, 49, of Mt. Washington: Pleaded guilty to seven criminal counts.
  • Dale Shiffman, 54, of Baldwin: Pleaded guilty to 20 criminal counts. Spent 24 months in the federal penitentiary. He now lives drug- and alcohol-free in Fairfield, Ohio, and shares his faith and the dangers of drugs with the local youth of Cincinnati.
  • Thomas P. Balzer: Pleaded guilty to selling cocaine. Sentenced to 18 months in prison.
  • Kevin M. Connolly: Pleaded guilty to selling cocaine. Sentenced to 2.5 years in prison.
  • Jeffrey L. Mosco, 49, of Shaler: Pleaded guilty to three drug-related counts. Spent 18 months in prison.
  • Robert W. "Rav" McCue: Convicted on seven counts of cocaine distribution.
  • Curtis Strong: Convicted on 11 counts of selling cocaine.

In September 2006, Shiffman & Koch were interviewed on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel in a segment entitled Under the Influence. Mount Washington is a neighborhood on Pittsburgh, Pennsylvanias south city area. ... Baldwin is a borough in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States and is part of the Pittsburgh Metro Area. ... Fairfield is a city in Butler county in Ohio, near Cincinnati. ... Shaler Township is a township located in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA. As of the 2000 census, the township had a total population of 29,757. ... September 2006 is the ninth month of 2006 and has begun on a Friday. ... This is a list of television-related events in 2006. ... HBO (Home Box Office) is the premium television programming subsidiary of Time Warner. ... Real Sports with Bryant Gumble is a monthly magazine on HBO that started on April 2, 1995. ...


Tarnished reputations

The players also paid a price with their reputation. Dave Parker probably cost himself a better shot at the Baseball Hall of Fame. Dale Berra's career ended prematurely. Rod Scurry died a cocaine-related death in 1992 at the age of 36. Kevin Koch (Pirate Parrot) left the Steel City and has lived in anonymity on the West Coast for the past 20 years. Willie Aikens is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence (due to be released in 2012). Not only did players pay a price but the whole organization of the Pittsburgh Pirates did as well. Fans turned away from the game in large numbers and, it can be debated, the fans have never regained the love for a sport that the city has been home to for over 120 years. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, located at 62 Main Street in Cooperstown, New York, is a semi-official museum operated by private interests serving as the central point for the study of the history of baseball in the United States and beyond, the display of baseball-related... The following are the baseball events of the year 1992 throughout the world. ... Regional definitions vary from source to source. ...


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