St. Louis Cardinals Manager Whitey Herzog claims that 11 members of his major league baseball team were “heavy users” of cocaine during the early 1980s and that Montreal was the city in which the drug was readily available, the Washington Post reported.
Herzog, in an interview published in Saturday’s editions, didn’t name any players. However, five former or current Cardinal players were named in a recent drug trial held in Pittsburgh.
Outfielder Lonnie Smith and first baseman Keith Hernandez testified at the trial, and the names of outfielder Bernie Carbo and pitchers Joaquin Andujar and Lary Sorensen were brought out in the testimony.
The St. Louis manager said that the availability of cocaine in Montreal was such that it caused him to change the team’s travel plans.
“It got so bad that when we went to Montreal, which was where they all seemed to get it, I had to have us fly in on the day of the game,” Herzog said. “That way, I knew we’d play decent for one night, even though the rest of the trip might be a lost cause.”
Herzog was quoted by the Post as recalling: “One day in Montreal, our pitcher hit an Expo--the guy who might have been the biggest dealer in the league--with a pitch. One of my own infielders comes in and chews out our pitcher on the mound because he’s afraid his drug dealer is going to get beaned.”
Herzog said that player ruined his own talent, but “teams just keep giving him chances.” He said the player is still in the league.
Three former or current Montreal players were named in the Pittsburgh drug trial--Tim Raines, Rowland Office and John Milner.
Herzog said that his managerial problems with cocaine stretch back to the days when he was in charge of the Kansas City Royals in the late 1970s.
“I’ll always be convinced that cocaine cost me a world title with the Royals,” he said.
Herzog said that one of his players was so strung out by cocaine in an important playoff game that he performed more like a drunk than a professional athlete.
Four Kansas City players--Jerry Martin, Willie Wilson, Vida Blue and Willie Aikens--pleaded guilty to cocaine-related charges and served jail terms.
Herzog told the Post that he thinks drug use in the majors is way down but “is not extinct.”