Watson: Remembering Darrell Porter’s 1979 season

From SABR member Darin Watson at U.L.’s Toothpick on January 16, 2019:

No accounting of Darrell Porter’s life and career can be complete without addressing his drug and alcohol addictions, and how he seemingly conquered that demon only to have it come back and ultimately take his life. So I will just say up front I find it hard to condemn any player’s drug or alcohol abuse. Not that I’ve had those problems myself, but I’m no angel. And especially for players of Porter’s generation, the situation was perfect for drug problems to thrive. For a variety of reasons, cocaine use had a surge in popularity in the late 1970s.

Meanwhile, baseball players for the first time (thanks to the advent of free agency) were making real money, the kind that meant they didn’t need a second job in the offseason. Add in the natural rhythms of a ballplayer’s life (night games mean staying up late, plus constant travel means lots of time away from the wife and kids), then throw in the stress of being a major leaguer, and you have a recipe for addiction. Of course, baseball players were hardly the only young, rich, beautiful people enjoying the drug—stockbrokers, musicians, actors…really anybody with disposable cash and no fear of the future was probably partaking. But baseball players are the ones held up as role models for the impressionable youths of America, and while there is some truth to the idea that they are, it has always seemed silly to me to single them out. That’s not to condone these actions, but to say I understand why these guys did it.

Read the full article here: https://ulstoothpick.com/2019/01/16/the-year-of-the-card-darrell-porter-1979/

Originally published: January 16, 2019. Last Updated: January 16, 2019.