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Know your baseball history: February 28 11 suspended for cocaine use

28 years ago cocaine ruled the game not steroids and Keith Hernandez was just one star using the drug.
Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images

28 years ago baseball had a drug problem, but it wasn't steroids but rather cocaine that ruled the landscape. Several star players were called to testify at what was commonly known as the Pittsburgh Drug Trials in 1985 including Vida Blue, Tim Raines, Keith Hernandez and Enos Cabell. On this date, February 28, in 1986 commissioner Peter Ueberroth handed down suspensions to 11 players involved. Seven players, Joaquin Andujar, Dale Berra, Cabell, Hernandez, Jeffrey Leonard, Dave Parker and Lonnie Smith were suspended for one year. The other four players, Al Holland, Lee Lacy, Larry Sorensen and Claudell Washington were suspended for 60 days.

These players never did serve the suspensions as the commissioner went easy on them and allowed they to play if they donated a percentage of their salary to drug related charities, agreed to drug testing and did some community service.

The funny thing is how big of a black eye this was on the game at the time and then just how quickly it all went away. I remember watching every game of the 1986 World Series as a kid and not once hearing how Hernandez might not of been there if the commissioner had not gone soft.

I guess this means that there is hope for those who shot themselves up with steroids in the years that followed that one day we will all just forget or cease to care.

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