John Milner testified today in U.S. District Court that he bought two grams of cocaine in the Pittsburgh Pirates' clubhouse at Three Rivers Stadium during a game against the Houston Astros on June 13, 1980.
Milner said he paid $200 for the cocaine after meeting defendant Curtis Strong in the clubhouse in the early innings. Milner testified he and then-teammate Dave Parker, who Milner said gave him cocaine on 15 to 20 occasions, "went for a ride after the game, snorted a little bit and then went our separate ways."
Milner also said that some years earlier he took "red juice," a liquid amphetamine, or stimulant, from the locker of Willie Mays when their dressing stalls were next to each other in the New York Mets' clubhouse.
Mays, a member of baseball's Hall of Fame, played with the Mets in 1972 and 1973 before retiring.
Mays, reached at his home in Atherton, Calif., told the Associated Press he didn't recall "having anything in my locker like that . . . It's just hearsay, as far as I'm concerned. I'm saying I don't know what he found in there, because I don't know what he thinks was in there. I don't do that (drugs). I never get involved with that."
The use of amphetamines was a key issue on the sixth day of the cocaine-trafficking trial of caterer Strong. Parker, who now plays for the Cincinnati Reds, supported earlier testimony by Dale Berra that Pirates team captain Willie Stargell and Bill Madlock supplied their teammates with the prescription drug around 1980. Stargell and Madlock have denied distributing amphetamines.
Milner, who was released in spring training 1983 after an 11-year major league career with three teams, testified that he, too, received amphetamines while on the team, but did not know who was the source.
He stated that they were simply left in his locker.
On his second day of testimony, Parker also said he and his teammates were warned by Manager Chuck Tanner and the team captains to stay away from Strong and Shelby Greer, another alleged cocaine dealer who had access to the team clubhouse, after the commissioner's office distributed a memorandum throughout the league that it was investigating drug use.
It was unclear from the testimony whether these warnings came late in the 1982 season or early in 1983. Richard Cerrone, a spokesman for the commissioner's office, said only, "We're not commenting on anything to do with the trial."
Before tonight's game against the Chicago Cubs, Tanner said he had never warned his team about individuals suspected of dealing drugs.
"I really don't know that Greer guy, and I'm almost sure I didn't (warn them)," he said. "If we felt anyone was involved, we would have corrected it. The Pittsburgh Pirates baseball club would not have stood for anything like that. He's (Parker) totally wrong . . . Maybe his mind was not working right."
Milner, the seventh and final current or former major league player to testify for the government, named six players with whom he said he used cocaine, including outfielders Tim Raines and Rowland Office when they were teammates in Montreal.
The allegation that Office used cocaine had not been made before. Raines has admitted having a cocaine problem and has said he underwent rehabilitation after the 1982 season.
Milner also said he used cocaine with three other Pirates teammates: Lee Lacy, Rod Scurry and Berra, all of whom testified before a grand jury that investigated cocaine sales to major league players and indicted Strong, Greer and five other Pittsburgh men outside baseball of trafficking charges on May 31.
Milner was on the stand for slightly more than two hours, the shortest time of any of the players. But he captivated those present in an overflowing court room with his description of the clubhouse sale.
"The game had just started," Milner replied under questioning by Assistant U.S. Attorney James Ross. "We were playing, but I wasn't starting. I'm a pinch hitter. I play in the late innings."
Milner said he was sitting in front of his locker when Strong walked into the clubhouse.
"The clubhouse was pretty much wide-open at the time, anyway," Milner said.
Ross asked what happened next.
"We sat and chatted a while, and I asked Curtis if he had any stuff (which Milner previously had identified as cocaine)," Milner said.
"We went back into the rest room. We exchanged money, and I got the stuff."
Ross asked him to be specific.
"We went back to a stall," Milner answered. "He gave me a couple of grams. I gave him $200."
Then Milner said that he and Strong returned to the locker room. "We chatted a while and then he left," Milner said.
Milner did not play in the June 13 game.
The revelation about Mays came as defense attorney Adam Renfroe Jr., in cross-examination, was reading Milner's testimony to the grand jury about getting "red juice" from a player described only as "Willie."
"He didn't give it to me," Milner said. "I took it out of his locker. Willie Mays. His locker was right next to me."
"Willie who? Willie Mays?" replied Renfroe, seemingly somewhat startled.
"That's right, the great one, yes," Milner responded.
"Who produced the red juice?"
"I don't know. I don't assume he made it."
"You saw him take the red juice?"
"I never saw him take it."
Earlier, as Parker concluded six hours on the witness stand, Renfroe asked him if he hadn't told Greer that he smuggled cocaine into the United States from Venezuela and sold it for profit.
"I told Greer it was plentiful over there, and there were rumors players were bringing it in. I didn't do it personally," Parker testified.
The New York Times, in a series on cocaine use in major league baseball, reported that Greer told the FBI that Parker gave him $2,000 to buy an ounce of cocaine and bring it to San Diego.
Much of Renfroe's defense is based on discrediting the players, whom he has called "hero-criminals" and characterized as junkies and dealers. During cross-examination by Renfroe Wednesday, Parker testified he arranged cocaine purchases for players on three teams. CAPTION: Picture, Ex-player John Milner:"(Curtis Strong) gave me a couple of grams. I gave him $200."