Willie Stargell, spark plug of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 1979 championship team, passed out amphetamines along with gold stars to his teammates, New York Yankee infielder Dale Berra testified today.
Berra, the son of Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, said he also obtained the drug from batting champion Bill Madlock while playing for the Pirates.
He said he could obtain amphetamines from Stargell “on any given day I asked him for one.”
Stargell is now a coach with the Pirates; Madlock recently was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Berra was testifying for the second day in the federal trial of Curtis Strong, a former Philadelphia Phillies clubhouse caterer charged with selling cocaine to ballplayers. Strong is charged with dealing cocaine 16 times from 1980 to 1984 when the Pirates played home games.
Uppers or Speed?--Yes
“Did you ever use uppers or speed?” Berra was asked during cross-examination.
“Yes,” Berra replied.
“I used some in Portland (when he played for a Pirates farm team) and some in Pittsburgh.”
He was asked where he got them in Pittsburgh.
“From Bill Madlock.”
Did Berra get them from anyone else?
“I got them from Willie Stargell,” he said.
Today’s testimony was delayed while U.S. District Judge Gustave Diamond asked jurors in individual interviews if they had been influenced by sources outside the courtroom.
The nine women and three men on the panel said they had not been. Diamond had instructed the jury to avoid all newspaper, radio and television accounts of the case.
Shared With Four
Berra began testifying Monday. He said he shared cocaine with at least four teammates while playing for the Pirates and was once warned by Manager Chuck Tanner not to talk to Strong.
In response to a question by the defense today, Berra said he didn’t believe that drugs were rampant on the 1979 Pirates. “I named the guys and that was the extent of it.”
In earlier testimony, he said he had used cocaine with players Dave Parker, Lee Lacy, Rod Scurry and John Milner. (Story in Part III, Page 3.)
Berra admitted that he “had a (cocaine) problem” last year while with the Pirates but said he hasn’t used the drug since last October.
Seventeen current or former players have been implicated in the use of cocaine.