Willie Stargell and Bill Madlock, stars of the Pittsburgh Pirates' 1979 world championship baseball team, gave amphetamines, a stimulant, to then-teammate Dale Berra, the New York Yankees infielder said in U.S. District Court today.
A few minutes later, as defense attorney Adam Renfroe Jr. continued his cross-examination of Berra in the cocaine-trafficking trial of Philadelphia caterer Curtis Strong, U.S. Attorney J. Alan Johnson said, "Your honor, the investigation continues," as Renfroe asked why Stargell and Madlock have not been prosecuted.
Berra said under redirect questioning the use of amphetamines "was common" in major league baseball around 1980, and that amphetamine use "makes you much more alert and alleviates pain, somewhat. It just makes your body feel stronger."
Berra also testified that, although the FBI had interviewed him in 1983, he continued to use cocaine until the day before he received a subpoena in late October 1984, then underwent counseling because, "I thought there could be disciplinary actions by the commissioner, and I wanted to do something to exonerate myself on my own."
The fourth day of Strong's trial also included testimony from San Francisco Giants outfielder Jeff Leonard that he once bought cocaine from Enos Cabell when they were teammates with the Houston Astros. Leonard also said he had given cocaine to and received it from Cabell, J.R. Richard and Al Holland, teammates with either the Astros, the Giants or both. Leonard also testified Chili Davis of the Giants was in the same room when he bought cocaine from Strong in an Atlanta hotel.
Leonard, describing his use of cocaine as "a way of life," said he first obtained the drug from Richard, then a star pitcher and Astros teammate, before going to a party in 1979. Leonard said he has not used cocaine since undergoing rehabilitation in 1982.
Ed Wade, a spokesman for the Pirates, said the team would have "no comment" about Berra's testimony. Stargell now is a coach with the Pirates, and Madlock was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers last month.
Stargell told the Associated Press, "It's not true. That's about all I can say about it."
Madlock, with the Dodgers in Atlanta to play the Braves, first refused to respond to Berra's testimony, saying, "I don't have anything to say about anything like that."
However, he added, "A lot of those guys up there are trying to get some people mentioned to take the monkey off their back."
Renfroe's defense rests on discrediting the players, who are testifying here, as they did before the grand jury, with grants of immunity from prosecution. Renfroe frequently has pushed the witnesses to implicate other players and name the sources of their drugs.
Earlier today, under Renfroe's cross-examination, Berra, who said his current salary is $450,000 per year, denied obtaining amphetamines from Madlock or Stargell. "I heard they would give them to me if I asked, but I didn't ask," Berra said.
Then Renfroe got Berra to admit that, in an unspecified year, Berra asked his girlfriend (now his wife) in New Jersey to purchase a gram of cocaine for him there and bring it to Pittsburgh, where she spent the week with him. He testified she complied with his request, and they used the cocaine together.
Then, Renfroe again inquired about amphetamines.
"Where did you use greenies?" he asked.
"Portland (location of a Pirates' farm team) and Pittsburgh," Berra replied.
"Who else in Portland used them?" Renfroe asked.
"Harry Safewright, a catcher in the organization," Berra replied.
"From whom did you get (amphetamines) in Pittsburgh?"
"From Bill Madlock."
"Who else, if anyone, did you get them from?"
"From Willie Stargell."
"Willie Stargell gave you amphetamines?"
"Yes, when he played for us."
There was no indication from whom Stargell and Madlock got the amphetamines. Possession of them is a misdemeanor; selling them is a felony.
In four hours on the witness stands over two days, Berra named 13 alleged dealers from whom he says he bought cocaine, including Strong. But Strong's alleged sale to him occurred in Philadelphia, and Berra is not included in any of the 16 counts in which Strong is charged in Pittsburgh.
So far, sales by Strong on seven of the 16 counts have been testified to by Lonnie Smith, Cabell and Leonard. Renfroe will complete his cross-examination of Leonard today, after which former Pirates outfielder Dave Parker, who now plays for the Cincinnati Reds, is expected to testify.
Under cross-examination, Berra detailed his counseling in New Jersey and tried to fend off Renfroe's attempts to show inconsistencies between what he told the grand jury and what he has testified here.
A typical exchange:
Renfroe: "When you were a member of the Pirates, can you recall the names of players who used cocaine?"
Berra: "Parker, (Lee) Lacy, (Rod) Scurry, (John) Milner."
Renfroe: "That's it?"
Berra: "That's it."
Renfroe: "If that's it, why did (Manager Chuck) Tanner say there was a serious cocaine problem on the Pirates?"
Berra: "I knew several players were using it, but I didn't think it was a serious problem."
Renfroe: "What do you call a serious problem?"
Berra: "A serious problem meaning he had to go to a rehabilitation center to get off drugs."
A little bit later, Renfroe asked Berra why the player decided to seek help.
"I decided I should go see a counselor to educate myself," Berra said. "I educated myself . . . the counselor determined there was no way I was dependent on the drug, and the doctor decided there was no way I needed in-house rehabilitation."
Berra said he underwent drug testing three times a week for six months at the request of his counselor. The Yankees have said that Berra is obligated to undergo random drug testing with them.