On next week's podcast (subscribe now and you'll have it before your Monday commute), Paul and I did a deep dive on the Pittsburgh Drug Trials of 1985. The defendants in the trial were cocaine dealers in the early 80s, but the big story quickly became the testimony of over a dozen active baseball players that admitted to widespread use of the drug. In exchange for their testimony against the dealers, the prosecution offered the players immunity. At the time, it was considered the biggest baseball scandal since the 1919 Black Sox.
We spend about 10 minutes discussing the details of the trial on the podcast, so make sure to listen if it interests you. Before that comes out, though, I wanted to share three interesting facts we discovered in our research. ESPN also has an excellent 30 for 30 short that recaps it well.
1985 Pittsburgh Drug Trials
- Keith Hernandez was the most prominent player suspended (later reduced to fines and community service) by MLB Commissioner Peter Ueberroth before the 1986 season. Hernandez testified that he used so much cocaine in 1980—one season after winning the NL MVP—that he couldn't remember a single thing about the season.
- Tim Raines testified during the trial, but was not disciplined by the league. He admitted to using cocaine during games; he would keep a vial in his uniform pocket and only slide head first to avoid breaking it.
- A year after the trials, Ueberroth told the Associated Press that, "Baseball's drug problem is over. I believe baseball is going to be the first sport to be free of drugs. The players have had enough of it."