Feb 2, 2011, 10:30 AM EST
The Royals hired a former player as a minor league coach yesterday. No biggie. Happens every day. Except this minor league coach is Willie Mays Aikens, who spent nearly 14 years in federal prison for selling crack in the mid 90s.
Aikens — who had a breakout performance in the 1980 World Series — has been working in construction and giving anti-drug talks in the Kansas City area since his release from prison in 2008. Now he has a chance to finally get back into baseball. Aikens made a lot of mistakes in his life, but he has paid for them. More than paid for them, actually, given that his original prison sentence was held — along with many others — to have been too long given the government’s unconstitutional treatment of crack cocaine offenders compared to powder cocaine offenders.
I last thought about Aikens when Ron Washington got in trouble for taking cocaine last year. At the time I wrote a longish post about cocaine in baseball. It’s a part of the game’s recent history relatively few people know about. They should learn more (and here’s an excellent and entertaining book about it all if you want to learn more). Unlike steroids or amphetamines in baseball, cocaine destroyed the lives of many players. Even ending at least one. It was serious business that has largely been overlooked since the PED stuff took off.
Anyway: good luck Willie Aikens. I hope you and the Royals take full advantage of your second chance in the game.
- Blue Jays sign Dayan Viciedo to a minor league deal 7
- Chris Sale will be sidelined for three weeks with foot fracture 10
- Aramis Ramirez says 2015 will be his last year 32
- Francisco Rodriguez re-signs with the Brewers 9
- If addiction is an illness — and it is — Josh Hamilton shouldn’t be suspended 295
- Pirates open to massive extension for Andrew McCutchen 18
- Report: Josh Hamilton had a relapse this offseason that “involved at least cocaine” 86
- Yankees don’t plan on having to pay A-Rod’s $30 million in home run milestone bonuses 51
- If addiction is an illness — and it is — Josh Hamilton shouldn’t be suspended (295)
- San Francisco — and all of California — will consider a smokeless tobacco ban that includes MLB parks (131)
- Report: The Yankees were “fuming” at how A-Rod handled his early arrival to spring training (114)
- Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada reportedly signs with the Red Sox for $31.5 million, plus $31.5 million in penalties (106)
- Brian Sabean says that California taxes are a hindrance to the Giants signing free agents (102)