When we think of drugs and baseball, a few names almost inevitably come to mind: Barry Bonds, Daryl Strawberry, and Dock Ellis.
Dock Ellis’ story may be the least well known, but it is certainly the strangest, having pitched a no-hitter while hallucinating on LSD after mistakenly believing that he had the day off.
For Daryl Strawberry, the results of ingesting some high level drugs were not quite as pleasant or benign.
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The 55-year-old retired baseball player said in a shockingly candid interview with KTLA5 that he was addicted to amphetamines and used them throughout his 17 years in the MLB.
‘I played amphetamines for most of my entire career, once I got addicted to those, that was a way of playing,’ Strawberry said.
Strawberry, who played for the Mets, the Dodgers, the Giants, and finally ended his career with the Yankees, was suspended three times by the MLB for substance abuse.
He was named the National League Rookie of the Year in 1983 and finished second in the MVP voting in 1988 behind Dodgers outfielder Kirk Gibson. Strawberry retired in 1999 after winning three titles as a member of the Yankees.
‘I never used any outside drugs or street drugs or anything playing baseball. I didn’t have to because I had amphetamines,’ Strawberry said.
And, of course, there is Barry Bonds – a villain among baseball purists who insist that his steroid use should nullify his usurping of the mighty Hank Aaron for the title of Home Run King.
Today’s MLB is a much different place than it was during the time of these men, and a new drug policy change for the big show reflects that.
Major League Baseball announced changes to its drug use and testing policies on Thursday, removing marijuana from its “drugs of abuse” while announcing mandatory tests for cocaine and opioids. The policy will be effective starting in 2020 during spring training.
Players who test positive for prohibited substances, which include fentanyl and LSD, will be evaluated and prescribed a treatment plan. Those who don’t obey the league’s plan may be punished.
MLB officials said changes to the policy were agreed to by the Players Association and were made to protect athletes from lethal and addictive substances.
While the marijuana reversal seems to make perfect sense in 2019, it is wholly surprising to hear that opioids were not previously a consideration of the league’s enforcement arm.
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