Reading Eagle - July 9, 1980
Clark Defends R-Phils
By Doyle Dietz, Eagle Sportswriter
Reading Phillies’ manager Ron Clark said this morning that to his knowledge, none of the players on the team have used amphetamines, as was first reported in a copyrighted story in the Trenton Times.
J. Striker-Meyer, a courthouse reporter for the Trenton paper, wrote in a story Monday that eight members of the Philadelphia Phillies and several members of the Reading team may have illegally obtained amphetamines from a Reading doctor, since identified as Dr. Patrick Mazza, the Reading team physician.
Pete Rose, Greg Luzinski, Mike Schmidt and Larry Bowa were the only players identified in the original story, which said the players were to be questioned by Pennsylvania Drug Enforcement officials. Since the original story appeared, Steve Carlton, Larry Christenson, Randy Lerch and Bowa’s wife, Sheena, have also been named in the investigation. None of the Reading players have been named.
“I know nothing of any investigation or of any of our players taking drugs,” Clark said this morning from Glens Falls, N.Y., where Reading will play an Eastern League game tonight. “I don’t know of our players taking anything stronger for pain than aspirin.
“I don’t think Dick (Cummings, the team trainer) has had any prescriptions this year for anybody except Jorge Bell.”
Bell was injured earlier this season and has since gone home to recuperate. Joe Buzas, the owner of the Reading Phils, said the only drugs he knows about are those the club purchased for Joe Jones for his diabetes, and Jones is no longer with the team.
Buzas also said that he believes that the story stems back to when Pat Bayless was with the Reading Phillies. Bayless was a pitcher with Reading in 1968 and 1970 and is suing the Philadelphia organization for $4.6 million in a breach of contract suit.
Bayless is charging that he received a massive oral dose of three drugs described as “dangerous, habit-forming pain-killers” to treat a back ailment.
Buzas said he will talk with Clark when the team returns home Friday, and that he and Clark will then talk with the team.
“The manager and I will talk with the team and sort things out,” Buzas said. “In the three years I’ve been here, I haven’t seen signs that any of our players were taking drugs.”
DA Knew of Probe
District Attorney George C. Yatron said today there is no evidence in the continuing Philadelphia Phillies amphetamine scandal that Larry Bowa and Mike Schmidt “are in any way connected – even innocently.”
Yatron, who revealed he had known about the investigation for the last month, said, “There is no evidence that any one particular person mentioned so far has broken the law.”
Questioned about other Phillies players, Greg Luzinski, Pete Rose and Larry Christenson, being involved in the amphetamine investigation, Yatron would not comment.
The district attorney, however, did not want his “no comment” to be construed that there was evidence against those three players.
He emphasized the investigation is in a preliminary stage and hoped a public statement could be made by the end of the month.
Doctor Denies Drug Reports
By Steven R. Farley, Eagle Staff Writer
Dr. Patrick A. Mazza of Reading linked by newspaper reports to illegally prescribing amphetamines to members of the Philadelphia Phillies and Reading Phillies, this morning emphatically denied prescribing the drug Desoxyn to anyone on those teams.
Interviewed outside his home today, the doctor said “I did not prescribe Desoxyn (an amphetamine) to anyone on the Phillies.”
Mazza said he has prescribed amphetamines to other patients, primarily for weight loss, but had not done so for members of either team.
The doctor also described the furor over allegations published in Tuesday morning’s edition of the Trenton Times of amphetamine use by eight members of the major league Phillies as a “tempest in a teapot.”
He declined to comment further on the case.
Pete Rose, Larry Bowa, Greg Luzinski and Mike Schmidt were named by the Trenton Times as using amphetamines allegedly prescribed by a Reading doctor. In addition, players on the Reading team allegedly used the drug, the newspaper reported.
Concerning whether an investigation by the Pennsylvania Drug Control Bureau is actually taking place, a spokesman for the state attorney general’s office this morning said, “We issued a very brief statement yesterday that we’re not making any comment on the case. We’re not even confirming an investigation at this time.”
An agent contacted at the Reading office neither confirmed or denied an investigation is ongoing, but said agents had not yet interviewed any of the principal figures in the case.
According to independent sources contacted Tuesday, the investigation began here as a routine check of prescription records.
Reportedly, the names of several ballplayers and their wives turned up and the investigation was begun, sources said.
Quoted today by the Associated Press, Mazza said he has not been contacted by state authorities concerning the case, but said, “If the state asks, I’m not afraid to pen my records.”
Mazza, 56, who has been team doctor for the Reading Phillies for 12 years, said he is “angry and puzzled” over the matter and is awaiting legal advice, the AP reported.
The news service also reported that Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn is aware of the allegations and security people have been notified.
MVP Griffey Sparks Victory
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ken Griffey for years has been one of the most consistent hitters in baseball, but he’s received little attention.
After Tuesday night’s 51st All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium, however, Griffey was the man of the hour – the MVP in the National League’s 4-2 victory.
Griffey was not a starter in the contest, in fact he finished 14th in the fan balloting for an NL outfield spot. National League Manager Chuck Tanner selected him to the squad, however, and Griffey responded with a homer and a single.
His towering solo homer in the fifth inning ended a streak of perfect American League pitching by Steve Stone and Tommy John and started the NL rolling to its ninth consecutive All-Star triumph. Baltimore’s Stone had not allowed a baserunner in the opening three innings and the New York Yankees’ John was also perfect until Griffey’s blast into the right-center pavilion with two away in the fifth.
“I felt really good about it because I thought it would light a fire under us,” said Griffey, whose .310 batting average in the 1970s ranked him fifth among all major leaguers.
“Nobody was exactly dozing off in the dugout, but we didn’t have a lot to cheer about the first four innings. I think we all knew that with the explosive hitters we had, they couldn’t keep us down all the game<’ continued Griffey, who’s hitting .314 with seven homers and 43 runs batted in this season.
“I try not to think about recognition. But I’m really happy to be the MVP in this game.”
The 30-year-old Griffey appears to not even be completely appreciated in Cincinnati, where he was on the trading block this spring before the possibility of a players’ strike made a deal for him impossible.
After Tuesday night’s game, however, the All-Star MVP had only happy thoughts.
“I’m very excited about it,” he said. “I got a call from George Foster last night. He’s a former MVP and he wished me luck. It’s a wonderful think right now.
“I know there’s a lot of controversy about who starts and who doesn’t, but I’m not worried about it. I got to come, I got to play, and I’m happy.”
National League’s Dominance Puzzling
American League Drops 9th Straight
LOS ANGELES (AP) – No one, not the managers, the players or even the fans can explain the overwhelming superiority of the National League over the American in baseball’s All-Star game.
It happened again, a ninth straight time, even after Steve Stone of Baltimore pitched a perfect first three innings for the Americans on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.
Ken Griffey, not even voted to a starting position by the nation’s fans, belted Tommy John’s first pitch to him in the fifth inning for a home run which gave the National League its first hit and sparked a 4-2 victory.
Griffey’s Cincinnati teammate Ray Knight commented after the game, “his home run kind of fired us up and everybody started going about the task.”
The NL task was helped by an error on a tough play by New York Yankees second baseman Willie Randolph in a two-run sixth inning.
So the Nationals not have won 17 of the past 18 meetings, the last AL victory coming in 1971.
Manager Earl Weaver of Baltimore, who piloted the American Leaguers in 1971, was at a loss to explain why his charges lost this time and why the string of losses.
“I know they wanted to win and they played to win,” said Weaver. “You watched the game. You tell me.”
Chuck Tanner of the World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates, said the “difference this time was defense. I knew our squad had too good hitters to be shut down all the way. I can’t explain the streak.”
The Americans had taken a 2-0 lead on Fred Lynn’s homer with Rod Carew on base in the fifth inning. The homer wasn’t too hard to take for the pro-National League crowd of 56,088 in Dodger Stadium because Lynn is a product of the nearby University of Southern California.
With one out in the sixth, after Griffey’s homer the previous inning, Knight singled with one out. Phil Garner grounded another single and George Hendrick singled to score Knight with the tying run. Ed Farmer relieved John and was greeted with the tough grounder by Winfield that got through Randolph.
“I don’t know how they can give me an error on that play,” the Yankees infielder said. “The ball was hit to my left, it had a knuckleball spin. I’d try to play it the same way if it happened again.”
Weaver said, “If he comes up with it, it changes things around, but it was a tough play.”
Garner scored on the play and the NL was ahead. They added the fourth run in the seventh when Dave Concepcion scored on a wild pitch by Dave Steib of Toronto who earlier had thrown another wild pitch in an inning that also saw a passed ball by Darrell Porter of Kansas City.
Griffey, who hit the igniting home run and followed later with a single, was voted the game’s Most Valuable Player although he knocked in only one run – himself with his homer. He told newsmen that he had a phone call from Cincinnati’s George Foster, a previous MVP, wishing him luck in this game.
Even Griffey couldn’t explain the continuing superiority of the National League.
“This was very disappointing,” said Weaver. “We went out to do everything possible to win.”
The final result showed the NL with four runs on seven hits with no errors and the AL with 2-7-2.
The winning pitcher was the Dodgers’ Jerry Reuss who hurled only the sixth but that was the inning when the Nationals went ahead.
Bruce Sutter of the Chicago Cubs finished up and he and Reuss had a friendly verbal exchange in the clubhouse.
Reuss had the game ball and gave it to Sutter, saying, “You saved it for me. You keep it.”
Sutter retorted, “You won it, you keep it,” and Sutter made Reuss, author of this season’s only no-hitter, keep the ball.
The pregame festivities were lively and wound up with fireworks. Unfortunately the fireworks started a brush fire on a hill behind the centerfield parking lot. So while Stone was hurling his perfect innings, a helicopter was dropping water on the hill to quench the flames as effectively as Stone quenched the NL bats.
Phillie Players Say Charges False
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Philadelphia Phillies stars Pete Rose and Mike Schmidt denied published reports that they illegally obtained amphetamines, with Schmidt labeling the allegations “totally ridiculous.”
Rose, in an interview shortly before the start of the All-Star Game Tuesday night, denied a report published by the Trenton (N.J.) Times that he and several teammates may have received illicit drugs from a Reading, Pa. physician.
“I don’t know anybody in Trenton,” the first baseman said. “I don’t know anybody in Reading. I don’t even know any doctors in Pennsylvania, the whole state.”
Schmidt, also here for the All-Star Game, said: “I have no comment whatsoever about that. I have no idea about it.”
Dick Weatherbee, Drug Law Enforcement director in Harrisburg, Pa., refused to confirm or deny the report that Rose, Schmidt, Greg Luzinski and Larry Bowa were among eight professional athletes who state narcotics agents want to question.
Of the players named, all but Rose played for the Phillies’ Reading farm league. The Trenton Times, quoting unnamed sources, did not identify the other four players.
Narcotics officials also plan to question members of the Phillies’ minor league franchise in Reading about alleged improper drug receipts, according to a source in Reading.
Stone Stands Out for AL
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Those who note triumphs in losing causes will remember the performance of Steve Stone in baseball’s 51st All-Star contest.
For Stone, Baltimore’s 32-year-old recycled righty, merely being a starting All-Star pitcher was no minor triumph. But what he did in the opening three innings Tuesday set a standard that the rest of the game, a rather routine match, couldn’t live up to.
On a scant 24 pitches, Stone went through a fearsome National League lineup that you wouldn’t wish on Carl Hubbell: Reggie Smith, Dave Parker, Steve Garvey, Dave Kingman, Johnny Bench.
The meat of the lineup averaged .293 and 13 homers. But Stone was immoveable.
Oh, the Nationals went on to win the game, of course, 4-2, their ninth consecutive victory, their 17th of the last 18. And Ken Griffey of Cincinnati was named Most Valuable Player, having started things for the Nationals with a solo home run in the fifth and a single later on.
To the five-man panel of writers and league publicists, Griffey’s two-hit, one-RBI performance seemed the game’s most valuable.
Perhaps. But Stone, Stone was an All-Star.
Too nervous to make his curveball work, Stone showed the Nationals’ big guns a fastball that fairly danced by them, a fastball that was good for three strikeouts in three innings.
Stone was perfect for those three, the first time an American League pitcher has held the Nationals hitless through three since Denny McLain did it in 1966. Were this not an exhibition requiring the appearance of the largest possible portion of each roster, Stone might have ended the Americans’ drought.
As it was, he exited after the third with a shout and a gesture of triumph, and left it to his successors to lose.
In the Americans’ lockerroom, the compact (5-foot-9, 175-pound) Stone, strikingly articulate and personable, relished his moment.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better three innings or for better results,” he said. “But then, I was always very tough in All-Star games.”
“Yes, in 1965, I pitched in the Ohio High School All-Star game and I won that.”
That he made it to this game, that he started this game, was remarkable. In 1976, Steve Stone was a middling pitcher with the Chicago Cubs, having already done time as a middling pitcher for the Giants and White Sox. He tore the rotator cuff in his pitching arm that season and it seemed that another of baseball’s modest stories had concluded.
The end seemed assured by Stone himself, who refused surgery and even shots for the injury. He wanted the shoulder to heal naturally and to the surprise of all, it did.