Hirsch: Whitey Herzog, the Cardinals, and cocaine in Montreal

From SABR member Dan Hirsch at The Baseball Gauge on May 16, 2015:

Before baseball had a problem with performance enhancing drugs, it had a problem with recreational drugs. This was highlighted by the “Pittsburgh Drug Trials” of 1985. During these trials, a number of baseball players took the stand to discuss cocaine use in baseball. One of those players was Keith Hernandez.

At the time of the trials, Hernandez was a member of the New York Mets, having been traded in 1983 for pennies on the dollar. While on the stand, he suggested that 40% of ballplayers were using cocaine. Shortly after, Whitey Herzog (Hernandez’s former manager with the Cardinals) publicly agreed with Hernandez, stating that there were 11 “heavy users” on their team in the early 1980’s.

Herzog continued to say this…

It got so bad that when we went to Montreal, which was where they all seemed to get it, I had to have us fly in on the day of the game. That way, I knew we`d play decent for one night, even though the rest of the trip might be a lost cause

I decided to take a look at how well the Cardinals fared in Montreal on the first game of a series versus the remainder of the series. Herzog managed the Cardinals for 73 games in 1980 before becoming the team’s general manager in August. At the end of the season, he would became the Cardinals full-time manager. I limited my search to Herzog’s tenure in 1980 until 1983. Since we don’t have the Cardinals travel logs and flight schedules, we have to assume that they actually did in fact arrive on the day of the first game in each series.

Read the full article here: http://seamheads.com/baseballgauge/blog/?p=419

Originally published: June 3, 2015. Last Updated: June 3, 2015.