BASEBALL AND SLEAZE (CONT.)
After eight hours of deliberation, the 12-member jury in Pittsburgh's "baseball cocaine" trial (SCORECARD, Sept. 16) last Friday found Philadelphia caterer Curtis Strong guilty of 11 of 14 counts of selling cocaine. But not before Adam Renfroe Jr., Strong's flamboyant attorney, had made good on his assertion that big league baseball, as well as Strong, would be on trial in the case. Whenever Renfroe elicited a new name or another seamy detail about drug use in baseball—and that happened frequently—he forced the country to sit in judgment of the sport.
Before the trial, few people in baseball would admit the drug problem was so widespread. Then came the witnesses who, under immunity from prosecution, said they had bought cocaine from Strong: Keith Hernandez, Dave Parker, Enos Cabell, Lonnie Smith, Dale Berra. And testimony produced the names of other players, active and retired, who were said to have used cocaine: Joaquin Andujar, Bernie Carbo, Gary Matthews, Dick Davis. More names—Pete Rose, Willie Stargell, Willie Mays among them—were linked to amphetamine use.
There was other information from Pittsburgh: Ballplayers had stashed coke in their fielders' mitts and brought it back from the Venezuelan winter leagues. One player spent more than $100,000 on coke in a year. It was all too much for the chief prosecutor for the District of Columbia, U.S. Attorney Joseph DiGenova, who watched from afar and expressed the feelings of many: "These overpaid, overrated, pampered, overlionized, spoiled brats who have corrupted a great game should be thrown out of baseball. Embarrassment by forced revelation is far from sufficient punishment for these spoilers of sport. The free ride should end. It's the commissioner's call."
September 29, 1985
But commissioner Peter Ueberroth wasn't saying what action, if any, he would take against players who admitted using cocaine.
As DiGenova implies, the trial, for baseball, continues.
There is now a Pete Rose Way in Cincinnati, honoring the Reds' player-manager for breaking Ty Cobb's hit record. There's also a Cobb Street in Royston, Ga., Ty's hometown, but it's not Ty Cobb Street, and no one knows for sure whether it was actually named for the baseball legend. There is a Babe Ruth Plaza outside Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Babe's hometown.
Pete Rose Way is the latest in a long list of streets, lanes, ways, drives, roads, avenues, boulevards, highways and expressways named for American sports favorites. One of the main thoroughfares in downtown Louisville is Muhammad Ali Boulevard, and Miami has the Don Shula Expressway. There are streets named for other football coaches all over the place: Woody Hayes Drive in Columbus, Ohio; Paul Bryant Drive in Tuscaloosa, Ala.; George Halas Drive in Canton, Ohio; Vince Lombardi Drive in Green Bay, Wis. In Mission, Texas, hometown of the Dallas Cowboys' head coach, there's a street called East Tom Landry.
There's Boudreau Boulevard outside Cleveland Stadium, where Lou Boudreau led the Indians to their last world championship in 1948. Outside Fenway Park in Boston is Yawkey Way, for the late owner of the Red Sox, Tom. In San Francisco, there's a bridge named for Lefty O'Doul, who twice won the National League batting championship and later ran a restaurant near Union Square.
Larry Bird, the basketball star, has two streets named after him: Larry Bird Avenue in Terre Haute, Ind., site of his alma mater, Indiana State, and Larry Bird Boulevard in French Lick, Ind., his hometown. John Wooden, the old UCLA basketball coach, also has two streets: Wooden Drive in Placentia, Calif. and John R. Wooden Drive in Martinsville, Ind., where he was a high school star.
Baton Rouge, La. has a whole gazetteer's worth of roads named for athletes. Near the Louisiana State campus are several streets honoring famous LSU athletes: Alvin Dark Avenue, Bob Pettit Boulevard, Jim Taylor Avenue, Y.A. Tittle Avenue. Near Southern University in Baton Rouge are Davenport Street (for Olympic hurdler Willie) and Brock Street (for baseball's Lou), as well as Joe Louis Court.
Also in Baton Rouge is a subdivision called Wimbledon Estates, in which streets are named for tennis players: Don Budge, Fred Perry, Ham Richardson, Jack Kramer, John Newcombe, Maureen Connolly, Lew Hoad, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson. It even has a Backcourt Street. For those who count chariot racing as a sport, Baton Rouge has Ben Hur Road.
Inside The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is Shaw Drive, named for Wilbur Shaw, who won the 500 in 1937, '39 and '40, and outside it is Tony Hulman Way, named for the man who ran the Speedway for so many years. Arcadia, Calif. has Longden Avenue for jockey Johnny Longden, and Edmonds, Wash. has a boulevard named after Rosalynn Sumners, the figure skater. In Seattle, there's even a road named for a newspaper sports editor: Royal Brougham Boulevard.
On the other side of the continent, in Natick, Mass., a new connector road between two shopping areas is to be named for a local boy who made good at Boston College. Flutie Pass, of course.
Columbia has a new football coach, Jim Garrett, who apparently has wandered into the wrong party. Before the season started, Garrett, a grizzled NFL veteran, a former Giants and Browns assistant coach, delivered himself of such un-Ivy utterances as this: "I'm insulting and demanding, and I'll put a spotlight on a player who's erred and make it clear he's let us down." And this: "I've not been at all patient and understanding." And: "I may not be the right man for this job. I may be too demanding."
Well, Columbia's players can't say they weren't warned. The Lions blew a 17-0 lead and lost to Harvard 49-17 in Garrett's debut on Saturday, and he wasn't happy. "They are drug-addicted losers," he said of his players. "One adversity comes and—Bang!—they're right back in the sewer again." As promised, he put the spotlight on an errant player, punter Pete Murphy. "Lousy punts," said Garrett. "I just told the squad he'll never kick for me again."
Lest you think the coach completely forgot he was in the Ivies, note that he added this about Murphy: "I want to see him when he graduates and goes to work downtown on Wall Street and does three things that he did today. See how long he's gonna work for that company, how long Merrill Lynch or Smith Barney is gonna have him around."
TAKING THE FALL IN FRANCE
Last month French President Fran√ßois Mitterrand dismissed the July 10 bombing in New Zealand of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior as an "absurd crime" (SI, Sept. 2). Now it has been confirmed that the absurd crime was committed by Mitterrand's own government.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Laurent Fabius said secret service agents, acting on the orders of superiors, were responsible for attaching two mines to the hull of the ship. He did not say who had issued the orders. The announcement followed the resignation of Defense Minister Charles Hernu, a longtime friend and political ally of Mitterrand, and the dismissal of Admiral Pierre Lacoste, head of the secret service. Lacoste was fired after refusing to cooperate with an investigation of the Greenpeace affair ordered by Mitterrand.
Rainbow Warrior had been scheduled to be used in a Greenpeace demonstration to protest French nuclear testing in the South Pacific. Although that testing continues, at least the air has been cleared about the mystery of Rainbow Warrior's destruction.
HIGH TECH ON THE HIGH SEAS
The stakes for the 1987 America's Cup showdown in Perth, Australia have gone sky-high. "We are now investing in technology to win the Cup back from Australia," says John Marshall, coordinator of the Sail America syndicate's three-man design team.
Sail America is spending at least $12 million and will eventually put five boats in the water. On Saturday its third 12-meter yacht, and first brand-new one, was commissioned in San Diego. Dennis Conner, the skipper who lost the Cup in 1983 aboard Liberty, is seen here with the new boat, Stars & Stripes; if a Sail America boat is selected as the challenger, Conner will be at the helm. Research by the Grumman Aerospace Corp., The Boeing Co. and a defense contractor named Science Applications International Corp. has gone into this deceptively simple-looking thing. The syndicate hopes that its high-tech approach yields something at least as effective as the revolutionary winged keel on the '83 champ, Australia II.
Even if money and technology produce a fast boat, Sail America must navigate a tough course. In the competition for the right to challenge Australia, the New York Yacht Club, which held the Cup for 132 years before Conner and Liberty lost it for them, is off to a fast start, with two new boats ready for their second winter of training off Australia. The NYYC suffered a setback last week, however, when skipper John Kolius quit the campaign after disagreements with the syndicate's management.
Seven other American groups, two syndicates from France, two from Italy and two from Canada, plus one each from Great Britain and New Zealand intend to compete in next fall's trials to select the challenger. Meanwhile, at least three syndicates are challenging Alan Bond's Australia III for the right to defend. Gridlock comes to the Indian Ocean.
THEY SAID IT
•Bum Phillips, New Orleans Saints coach and part-owner of King Of Gold, after the 2-year-old won a maiden race at Jefferson Downs: "He didn't even ask to renegotiate."
•Jim Frey, Chicago Cubs manager, after pitcher Steve Trout missed a start because he fell off a bicycle: "There should be a common sense clause in his contract."