The Way We Were

Baseball Ruled When Cocaine Was King

Back when the Pittsburgh Pirates were world champs, they smoked in the dugout and snorted cocaine at post-game parties. Dave Parker (pictured) was one of the team’s big personalities of the time, surrounded by as much lore as teammate Dock Ellis: “In the early 1970s, as a member of the Pirates AAA minor league ball team Charleston (WV) Charlies, Parker hit a home run that landed on a coal car on a passing train and the ball was later picked up in Columbus Ohio.”

In 1985, however, the Pittsburgh drug trials revealed why everyone back then was having so much fun playing baseball: “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.

“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.”

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  • minsk

    great article matt

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Daniel. Hats off to the Buccos of yesteryear. 

  • Guest

    I’ve never had to buy cocaine but if I did, buying it from a big, giant Parrot would probably the the most kick ass way one can purchase coke.

  • Sean Coleman

    I’ve never bought cocaine but if i did, I imagine buying it from a giant parrot would be one of the more kick ass coke purchasing experiences.