Ueberroth Tells 7 Players Pay Penalty or Be Banned : 5 Others Get Lighter Drug ‘Fines’
Dave Parker of the Reds, Keith Hernandez of the Mets, Joaquin Andujar of the A’s and four other major-leaguers implicated in drug use were conditionally suspended for one year today by Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth. Five others face 60-day suspensions.
The suspensions included a stipulation that they may continue to play if they meet certain obligations to the game.
The others suspended for one year were Lonnie Smith of the Royals, Enos Cabell of the Dodgers, Jeff Leonard of the Giants and Dale Berra of the Yankees.
Ueberroth said at a news conference that he is willing to “hold the suspensions in abeyance” if the seven players suspended for a year donate 10% of their salaries to a drug prevention program in their hometowns, submit to random drug testing and contribute 100 hours of drug-related community service in each of the next two years.
The suspensions followed meetings the commissioner held in the last two months with 23 players, some of whom testified or were implicated during last September’s federal drug trials in Pittsburgh.
Ueberroth divided those interviewed into three categories.
The first included players with a “prolonged pattern of drug use,” who also participated in the distribution of drugs, the commissioner said.
The second group consisted of players “engaged more in direct use” rather than distribution. The third group included players against whom there was little or no evidence.
In the second group were pitchers Al Holland of the Yankees and Lary Sorensen of the Cubs, outfielder Lee Lacy of Baltimore and outfielder Claudell Washington of Atlanta.
Those players were suspended for 60 days, with the suspensions held in abeyance under the same conditions as those players who fell into the first group. They would have to donate only 5% of their salaries, however, and 50 hours of community work over the two-year period.
Ueberroth said that the drug testing of the suspended players will continue for the rest of their careers and that the suspensions will be immediately reimposed if testing shows the use of drugs.
In addition, the suspensions will take effect immediately if the players fail to live up to any of the other parts of the agreement, the commissioner said.
The third group of players--those against whom little or no evidence was found--included Dusty Baker, Gary Matthews, Manny Sarmiento and Derrel Thomas. No suspensions were levied against them.
Ueberroth said, however, that he will require their participation in testing, just as he has of the other two groups.
Group three also included six players--Vida Blue, Dickie Noles, Daryl Sconiers, Rod Scurry, Tim Raines and Alan Wiggins--who have had what Ueberroth called “well-documented” drug problems during their careers.
At the same time, Ueberroth said he had found former Pirate player Willie Stargell “guilty of no wrongdoing,” thus clearing Stargell, now a coach with the team.
All suspensions will take effect, April 7, the first day of the season. Players have until then to tell Ueberroth whether they will comply with his conditions.
“Baseball is dedicated to removing drugs from our sport, and we are well on our way to accomplishing that,” Ueberroth said before announcing the penalties. “We may do so by Opening Day.”
He said his six-page decision was being telexed, while he spoke, to the players involved and their agents as well as the Major League Baseball Players’ Assn.