On this day, September 20, in the year 1985, Curtis Strong was convicted of selling cocaine to pro baseball players, resulting ultimately in some of the harshest Major League Baseball penalties since the Black Sox scandal of 1919.
During the investigation of Curtis Strong and other area drug dealers, multiple Pittsburgh Pirates - Dale Berra, Lee Lacy, Lee Mazzilli, John Milner, Dave Parker, and Rod Scurry - and other notable major league players, including Willie Mays Aikens, Vida Blue, Enos Cabell, Keith Hernandez, Jeffrey Leonard, Tim Raines, and Lonnie Smith, were called to testify before a Pittsburgh grand jury. The players were granted immunity from criminal prosecution in exchange for their testimony.
The Pirates testified that drug dealers sold cocaine in their clubhouse. League Most Valuable Player Keith Hernandez swore that Pittsburgh was the place to get your fix. Tim Raines told how he'd keep a gram of coke in his uniform pocket, as well as revealing that he snorted during games. Testimony also revealed that Rod Scurry once went looking for cocaine during the late innings of a Pirates game. Even the mascot, Pirate Parrot, was implicated as a drug dealer.
Strong served four years in prison as a result of his conviction on September 20, 1985. Eleven players were eventually suspended from major league baseball, seven for an entire season. The players who were suspended for a full year were only allowed to play in major league baseball again under the condition that they donate 10 percent of their base salaries to drug-related community service, submit to random drug testing, and contribute 100 hours of drug-related community service.