Feb 2, 2011, 10:30 AM EDT
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.
- Jose Reyes is on track to be activated Friday 3
- Dustin Pedroia given cortisone injection for sore left wrist, aiming to return Wednesday 1
- Hank Aaron is getting vile racist hate mail in retaliation for pointing out that racism still exists 209
- John Farrell to get fined for being critical of instant replay 47
- And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights 91
- Hank Aaron is getting vile racist hate mail in retaliation for pointing out that racism still exists (210)
- The Red Sox are still steamed that a PED guy played against them in the playoffs last year (129)
- We don’t need to celebrate Barry Bonds, but we should avoid whitewashing baseball history (122)
- Doug Glanville’s story about being racially profiled at his own home (121)
- Must-Click Link: Yasiel Puig’s harrowing journey to the United States (95)