Wilmington Morning News - July 10, 1980

Phils respond angrily to report of drug use


By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Correspondent


PHILADELPHIA – The Phillies took an official "no-comment" stance, then proceeded to comment all over Veterans Stadium yesterday while waiting for the next shoe to drop in the illegal amphetamine furor that's made headlines throughout the Delaware Valley.


"According to newspaper stories, several of our players have allegedly received amphetamine pills illegally from a Reading doctor and that an investigation is forthcoming," said Phils' owner Ruly Carpenter at an afternoon press conference. "No one has been charged with anything, no one has been accused, no one has broken any laws. It's all speculative."


Carpenter reiterated the Phillies' policy against any kind of drug use and stated that he had been in contact with the office of Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, who "will be looking into the matter." Then Carpenter said that any further information would have to come from the Pennsylvania Drug Law Enforcement Agency, which is handling the investigation.


"So, until an investigation! if any, is completed," Carpenter said, "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."


A copyright story in Tuesday's Trenton Times said that state drug enforcement officials wanted to talk with Pete Rose, Larry Bowa, Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski, plus four unnamed Phillies and several members of the club's Reading farm team, about receiving amphetamines from a Reading doctor – reportedly Dr. Patrick Mazza, the Reading Phillies' team physician – without undergoing a physical examination, as required by state law.


A story in yesterday's Reading Times added three more names, those of pitchers Steve Carlton, Larry Christenson and Randy Lerch, to the list of Phils under investigation.


The story quoted an unnamed Berks County pharmacist as saying 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, Sheena. All the prescriptions were signed by Mazza, the pharmacist said.


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 exhilaration, feeling that they are performing at a much-higher level than actually is being attained. The drug is usually prescribed for weight loss or to relieve mild depression.


Phillies' Manager Dallas Green, after hurling baseballs as batting-practice pitcher in a hitting cage in the bowels of Veterans Stadium yesterday, 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."


Some of the players named in the two stories did little to present the "other side of the story at yesterday's workout. Two, in fact, intimated that their silence might extend for the rest of the season. Or beyond.


"I don't have anything to say," said Larry 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 gays all wrote about it. It was in the headlines. Now I'm accused of something I haven't done, That's it."


And Bowa walked away angrily.


Schmidt, who bad 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."


Rose amended 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 cc 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."


While the state Department of Justice, which administers the drug law enforcement agency, has begun gathering information reportedly aimed at Dr.Mazza and the "runners" who delivered the pills, the formal "investigation" may never involve legal charges against any Phillies players.


"At this point, we have no evidence that would indicate that, anyone has broken the law," said Berks County District Attorney George Yatron, who would prosecute any alleged crimes uncovered by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Drug Control. He cautioned that the investigation has not been completed.


"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 told The Associated Press.


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."


After issuing his prepared statement, Carpenter said that the players involved "will keep playing. I don't know how you can be prevented from playing baseball because you are under investigation. 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 say. Before he fines anybody, there'd have to be a specific investigation and charges."


Carpenter mentioned Kuhn's handling of the Bill Lee affair, when the Montreal Expo pitcher mentioned past involvement with marijuana and was fined $250 by Kuhn.


Carpenter said he first heard about the charges in an anonymous Shone call on Monday, informing im that J. Stryker Meyer, a Trenton Times investigative reporter, was writing a story involving several Phillies players for Tuesday's editions. Carpenter 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 which apparently cleared Bowa and Schmidt, two of the four players Meyer named as under investigation, 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 speculated that the players might want to engage their own lawyers should they wish to sue.


In Reading, Mazza denied prescribing amphetamines for Phillies players. "I don't recall that. I totally deny that," Mazza told The Reading Times.


Later Mazza 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."


The office of National League president Chub Feeney indicated that any league investigation would be focused more on the physician involved than the players. That allegedly would be Mazza, who 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 and making him incapable of pitching or later holding a job.


Bayless, who left the Phils' Read: ing 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."


However, Carpenter said that Mazza was not on the Reading Phils' official payroll.


Green was asked if there was any drug use on the Phillies' team.


"I can't say yes or no," the manager said. "I certainly hope not. We don't condone it. I know our trainers, Don Seger and Jeff Cooper, and I know there's no way they could get it from them."


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.


Carpenter was asked if he had been shocked to hear the drug reports.


“Nothing shocks me anymore," the owner said. 

Photo Gallery

Phillies owner’s statement


By Ruly Carpenter


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, no one has been accused, no one has broken any laws, it's all speculative.


We stated yesterday we have continually cautioned our players against the use 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 ana said he win be looicing into tne 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.