Wilmington Evening Journal - July 10, 1980
Bowa, Schmidt depressed over pill furor
By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA – It is hard enough now to find a cooperative interview in the Phillies' clubhouse. If the furor over alleged illegal use of amphetamines by a handful of players continues, the media may have two more Phils permanently turning their backs to notebooks and microphones.
Larry Bowa and Mike Schmidt, normally two of the more-tolerant targets of oft-repeated questions or printed second-guesses, have threatened to join the Phils' ever-growing list of non-talkers because of their inclusion among eight Phillies who've allegedly taken the illegal "uppers.”
Both players were in a decidedly down mood when questioned briefly during a workout at Veterans Stadium yesterday. The workout followed a press conference with owner Ruly Carpenter that clamped an official no-comment on the investigation by the Pennsylvania Drug Law Enforcement Agency,
"I don't have anything to say," said Bowa after taking batting practice. "I'm done giving out interviews in Philadelphia. When I supposedly hit Ray Kelly (a Camden Courier-Post writer, two seasons ago), you guys all wrote about it. It was in the headlines. Now I'm accused of something I haven't done. That's it."
Bowa was named with Schmidt, Pete Rose and Greg Luzinski in a copyright Trenton Times article on Tuesday as players state drug enforcement officials wanted to question about getting illegal prescriptions for amphetamines from a Reading doctor.
Schmidt, who had originally denied reports about any drug use while at the All-Star Game in Los Angeles Tuesday night, expanded on yesterday's initial "no comment about any junk that's in the press" by adding:
"This just reinforces my feeling about the press. I'm in a limbo situation right now. I'm trying to decide whether I owe anything to the press from now on," Schmidt said. "That the media would take the liberty the way it did, the way it tarnished my name as it did, with the sensationalism it used, and also (writing about) my teammates... it's basically floored me.
"I have to decide whether I'll join the Steve Carlton ranks and not talk. I'll know when I get to the park tomorrow night."
Carlton, incidentally, was one of three pitchers – the other two were Larry Christenson and Randy Lerch – who were named in yesterday's Reading Times, along with Bowa and wife Sheena, for receiving prescriptions without undergoing a physical examination, as required by state law.
While the newspapers were adding names to the speculation, Berks County District Attorney George Yatron, who would prosecute any alleged crimes uncovered by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Drug Control, seemed to be clearing Bowa and Schmidt.
"At this point, we have no evidence that would indicate that anyone has broken the law," Yatron told the Associated Press. "As far as news reports of Schmidt and Bowa, the information we have on those two individuals shows no connection at all, even innocently."
Yatron said his office has been kept informed of the investigation and provided legal advice. "I don't think it jeopardizes anything to confirm that there has been an investigation... At this time, I think it improper to go into details of the investigative means being used. We hope by the end of the month perhaps to be in a position to make some official comments."
Carpenter, who read a prepared statement reiterating the club policy against drug use and clamping a no-comment lid on players and club officials until any investigation is completed, questioned the accuracy of the Trenton Times article, written by investigative reporter J. Stryker Meyer.
Carpenter, who first heard about the charges in an anonymous phone call on Monday, informing him about the upcoming story, said he called Meyer, who told the Phils' owner what the story would contain.
"I told him I had no control over what he wrote," Carpenter said, "but when you write a story like this, be certain of your facts."
Asked about Yatron's statement about Bowa and Schmidt, two of the four players Meyer named, Carpenter said, "If you go from what the district attorney in Reading said, Meyer's 2-for-4. That's good in baseball but in newspaper work, that doesn't come close to doing the job."
Carpenter mentioned the possibility of legal action.
"If there are any grounds for a lawsuit, we have capable attorneys and they would look into it," said , Carpenter, who said that the players might wish to engage their own lawyers in any individual lawsuits.
Two other players named in the published reports offered no new information.
Rose did amend his pre-All-Star Game statement that "I don't know a doctor in Reading – I don't even know a doctor in the whole state of Pennsylvania" by saying: "I made a mistake. I know two doctors in Pennsylvania – the Pirates' and Phillies' team doctors." Rose had no other comment on the story.
Luzinski, who will miss tonight's game with the Chicago Cubs with a puffy right knee from which 100 cubic centimeters of fluid was drained yesterday, shrugged off pursuing reporters with a curt "I've got nothing to say. You guys know as much as I do."
Phillies Manager Dallas Green emphasized that "everything's alleged. No one's been questioned or proven guilty by any stretch of the imagination, to my thinking. Until further investigation by the proper authorities and our lawyers, the less said the better.
"I think there's two sides to the story. We've heard one side. I'll hear the other side and we'll decide what to do."
Yesterday's Reading Times story quoted an unnamed Reading pharmacist who said he and three other pharmacists filled seven prescriptions over a two-year period, the last about 10 months ago, for a stimulant known as Desoxyn for Carlton, Christenson, Lerch, Bowa and Bowa's wife. All the prescriptions were signed by Dr. Patrick Mazza, the Reading Phillies' team physician.
The prescriptions had been delivered to Philadelphia by a father-son team. The pharmacist said he thought the orders were being handled that way to avoid unfavorable publicity if Phillies fans knew the players were taking "diet pills."
Amphetamines, commonly known as "uppers" or "speed" and called "greenies" by players, are stimulants usually taken in pill form. Users can experience a feeling of exhiliaration. The drug is usually prescribed for weight loss or to relieve mild depression.
Mazza and the "runners" who delivered the amphetamines to Philadelphia are the reported targets of the Drug Law Enforcement Agency probe. No charges have been leveled against any players and none are expected to be.
In Reading, Mazza denied prescribing amphetamines for Phillies players. "I don't recall that. I totally deny that," Mazza told The Reading Times.
Mazza also told the Camden Courier-Post, "It's not good medical practice to prescribe drugs without a physical examination, and I've never done it. I'm not afraid to open my records."
Mazza was involved in a 1976 suit against the Phillies by former pitcher Pat Bayless, who claimed Mazza had prescribed drugs that had totally changed Bayless' personality, making him incapable of pitching or later holding a job.
Bayless, who left the Phils' Reading team in 1971 and was subsequently confined in a mental institution, said his mental illness was triggered by the drugs, including Butazolidin, he was given.
"He (Mazza) was the doctor at the time the Pat Bayless thing came up," Green recalled. "That was beaten in court. Dr. Mazza's been there (in Reading) for years and years."
Carpenter said that the players would not be kept from playing while the investigation continued.
"I don't know how you can be prevented from playing baseball because you are under investigation," he said. "Nobody's been charged with anything."
Carpenter would not speculate on any club-imposed penalty should the allegations be proven.
"It would be handled through the Commissioner's office," he said. "What he'd do, I can't answer that. Before he fines anybody, there'd have to be a specific investigation and charges."
Green said all the Phils could do at the present is "basically go about our business. It's all alleged facts. It's up to them to prove."
Asked if he wished the situation could be quickly dispensed with before lingering doubts took their toll in players' performance or fans' attitudes, Green shrugged his shoulders.
"The damage is done," he said. But Green hoped the allegations would not affect the team's play as it opens the second half of the season tonight, just one game behind Montreal in the NL East.
"We all have faith in the guys who were mentioned to handle their end of it," Green said. "I've been talking about team character all year. It's up to the other guys to test the team character now. That's something we'll have to see."
Carpenter was asked if he had been shocked to hear the drug reports.
"Nothing shocks me anymore," the owner said.
Ruly Carpenter’s statement:
According to newspaper stories, several of our players have allegedly received amphetamine pills illegally from a Reading doctor and that an investigation is forthcoming.
No one has been charged with anything, so one has been accused, no one has broken any laws, it's all speculative.
We stated yesterday we have continually cautioned our players against theuse of drugs of any kind. Our team physician, Dr. Phillip Marone, has also cautioned players about the use of drugs. And our trainers do not dispense drugs without a doctor's prescription.
Baseball has a very active drug education program through the Commissioner's Office. We have received information from them from time-to-time and distributed that information to every player in the organization, both major league and minor league.
I have spoken to the Commissioner of Baseball, Bowie Kuhn. He is aware of the newspaper accounts and said he will be looking into the matter.
Any information regarding a possible investigation will have to come from the Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
So, until an investigation, if any, is completed, there will be no further comment from me, any front office officials, or any Phillies players. This is at the request of the Drug Law Enforcement Agency and our club attorneys.
We're in a pennant race and the No. 1 priority on our minds is tomorrow night's game with the Chicago Cubs.
Schmidt back, but Luzinski is sidelined
PHILADELPHIA – Mike Schmidt, the Phillies' third baseman who sat out last weekend's series with the St. Louis Cardinals and Tuesday night's All-Star Game with a pulled hamstring, may be back in the lineup tonight when the Phils host the Chicago Cubs at 7:35 at Veterans Stadium.
Since Schmidt, who has been limited to two starts and one pinch-hit appearance in the Phils' last 11 games, has hit more home runs against the Cubs – 35 – than against any other team, that's good news for Manager Dallas Green. The bad news, however, is that left fielder Greg Luzinski is still not able to play.
Luzinski complained to trainer Don Seger that his right knee was sore after Saturday's game in St. Louis. The injury isn't considered serious, but some fluid was drained from Luzinski's knee Tuesday morning.
"Luzinski's health is not that good," Green said after yesterday's workout. "We drained about 100 cc of fluid from his knee. Nothing was bloody, so there's no major problems.”
Green said that Lonnie Smith would start in left field against the Cubs' Mike Krukow. Dick Ruthven will pitch for the Phillies.
Rookie Bob Walk (4-0) will face Chicago's Lynn McGlothen in tomorrow night's 8:05 game, which will be followed by the fireworks display that was rained out on June 29.