The Pittsburgh Pirates have alleged in federal court that years of cocaine addiction reduced Dave Parker from a star outfielder to an overweight, injury-prone second-rater who didn't deserve the money he got.
In a breach-of-contract suit filed last Friday in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, the team claims that not only should Parker forfeit $5.3 million in deferred payments but that the 36-year-old slugger, now with the Oakland Athletics, "already has been generously overpaid for the drug-impaired performance" under his 1979 Pirate contract.
"This is all a bunch of malarkey," said Louis Willenken, a New York attorney representing Parker. "It's just not true."
The court document spells out sordid details of a cocaine habit that allegedly spanned at least from 1975 to 1982. Sometimes, Parker snorted cocaine and drank beer in the morning and ended his day with more cocaine and cognac, it said.
The Pirates claim that Parker also became paranoid, fearing noises caused by the wind at home and wrapping the knobs of his bedroom's double doors with electrical cord.
In the 1979 contract, Parker said that he had no secret physical or mental problem that would impair his performance, but neither he nor his agents reported the addiction to team officials, the document said.