SI Vault
Edited by Robert Sullivan
April 27, 1987
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April 27, 1987


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The list of athletes linked to the use of cocaine keeps getting longer. In Phoenix, three Suns basketball players ( James Edwards, Jay Humphries and Grant Gondrezick) and two former players ( Garfield Heard and Mike Bratz) were indicted last week for alleged involvement with the drug (page 24); yet another Sun, Walter Davis, underwent rehabilitation for cocaine abuse for a second time. Meanwhile, San Francisco Giants outfielder Eddie Milner checked into a rehab clinic after admitting he had a drug problem.

The indictment of the present and former Suns besmirched a sport in which such stars as Micheal Ray Richardson, John Lucas, Mitchell Wiggins, John Drew and Lewis Lloyd have previously been identified as having been involved with cocaine. Baseball has seen three of its Cy Young winners ( Vida Blue, LaMarr Hoyt and Dwight Gooden) and four of its batting champs ( Dave Parker, Tim Raines, Willie Wilson and Keith Hernandez) get into trouble because of drug use. The list of cocaine abusers in the NFL includes such past or present stars as Chuck Muncie, Pete Johnson, Ross Browner and last year's MVP, Lawrence Taylor. All this, of course, is on top of the cocaine-related deaths of Len Bias and Don Rogers.

Not too many years ago, if an athlete like Milner had acknowledged a drug problem, it would have been big news. However, coming on the heels of the Phoenix bust, which came on the heels of the Gooden episode, which came on the heels of the Wiggins-Lloyd disclosures, and so on, ad nauseam, the Milner case caused hardly a ripple. Sadly, shockingly, the news that an ordinary athlete has been using drugs no longer seems to be a big deal.

In an interview with Pacific Southwest's in-flight magazine, Vanna White detailed the requirements of her letter-spinning job on TV's Wheel of Fortune: "You should know the entire alphabet, be yourself, be poised and be in shape. I walk miles and miles every day on the set. You have to do a lot of walking in high heels.... Walking back and forth in them is not as easy as it sounds."


After nine innings of a recent game in Bradenton, Fla., Hillsborough Community College and Manatee J.C. were tied 2-2. By the 20th inning the score was 3-3, the lights were on and fans were shivering in the evening chill. In the 23rd inning, Hillsborough assistant coach Rick Bernaldo climbed a tree to retrieve a foul and vowed to stay there until the game was over. In the 30th inning, with the score 4-4, Bernaldo came down because he was too cold. He never found the foul ball.

Fans retreated to their cars to watch the game and honked horns by way of applauding. So much coffee was sold at the concession stand that somebody hung a sign: OVER 2 MILLION SOLD. Finally, in the 32nd inning, 7� hours and four stapled-together official score sheets after the opening pitch, Hillsborough sealed a 6-4 victory on a diving catch by centerfielder Matt Ulvenes with two men on base. It's believed no one junior college game had ever lasted that long. "It went on so long one of our guys slid into second base in the first inning, and his scab had healed by the end," said Bernaldo.

Players on both teams got the next day off.


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