He Had No Tolerance for Drug Abusers

Thirteen years ago today, baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth set a zero-tolerance tone for drug abuse by major league players.

Ueberroth, calling illegal drug use “an emergency time for baseball,” came down with both feet on the cases of Joaquin Andujar, Dale Berra, Enos Cabell, Keith Hernandez, Jeff Leonard, Dave Parker and Lonnie Smith, all of whom had been found guilty of illegal drug use.

He gave them two choices:

* Be suspended for the entire 1986 season.


* Donate 10% of their salaries to drug-abuse programs in the cities where they played and, in selected cases, submit to mandatory testing for the rest of their careers.

The Dodgers’ Enos Cabell fell into that category. Besides surrendering $45,000 of his $450,000 salary, he had to donate 100 hours of community service and undergo career-long urinalysis.

Four other players got 60-day suspensions and lost 5% of their salaries: Al Holland, Lee Lacy, Lary Sorensen and Claudell Washington.

Five more were not penalized but were ordered to participate in drug-testing programs for the other groups: Dusty Baker, Vida Blue, Gary Matthews, Dickie Noles and Tim Raines.


Twenty-two major leaguers were implicated in a Philadelphia case, where a caterer was charged with supplying players with drugs.

Thirteen years later, however, there still is no mandatory testing for major league players.

But Ueberroth got high marks when he came down hard on the issue.

One analyst called him “John Wayne Ueberroth.”


Also on this date: In 1985, USC and UCLA played arguably the greatest basketball game in the series’ history. With two seconds remaining in the fourth overtime, USC’s Charlie Simpson scored on a layup to win it, 80-78. It gave USC its first series sweep over the Bruins since 1942. . . . In 1974, the Rams extended Coach Chuck Knox’s contract by five years after the club went 12-2 and won the division title. . . . In 1964, Don Pierce rode Hill Rise to a six-length victory in the Santa Anita Derby, afterward calling Hill Rise “the best horse I ever rode in my life.”