Throwback to when Pittsburgh Pirates' Parrot mascot provided cocaine to the stars of '80s baseball

Division Series - St Louis Cardinals v Pittsburgh Pirates - Game Three
The Pittsburgh Pirates logo is seen on the field before Game Three of the National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park on October 6, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh Pirates frontman and mascot Kevin Koch was well and truly at the center of the team’s 1985 cocaine scandal.

Koch and his high-school buddy, Dale Shiffman, were caught by the FBI in 1985 relaying drugs to players in the MLB.

"The Pittsburgh Drug Trials 1985, MLB's cocaine scandal Sept. 9th, 33 years ago. Implicated/directly named were Pirates Dale Berra, Rod Scurry, Dave Parker and even The Pirate Parrot, who sold cocaine inside the Pirates locker room, then turned stool pigeon for the prosecution!" - Sean Mcdowell, Twitter

Shiffman and Koch were introduced to Coke in the early 1980s. They soon realized the value of it. It was more than just the money! It was being able to party with the top dogs in the MLB.

"Lenny, Squiggy, and the Pirate Parrot. ‘Nuff said." - Super 70s Sports, Twitter

Koch would deal with Rod Scurry and shortstop Dale Berra, who would call him prior to games asking for the narcotic. Shiffman would purchase the cocaine from locals and then hand it over to the players at parties.

“It seemed like no one really cared,” Koch told the East Bay Times in 2006. “I mean, I think Major League Baseball even knew itself that it had problems, like, years before, when they had alcohol problems with a lot of guys.”
“It was a crazy time. Boy, the choices you make are huge. The drugs end up taking your dignity away.” he admitted in an interview.

Koch escaped prosecution thanks to the FBI making a deal with him. He agreed to wear a wire and provide evidence about Shiffman, who the FBI were prepared to charge with 11 counts.

Players involved in the Pittsburgh drug trials

The Pittsburgh drug trial unfolded in 1985. Several current and former members of the Pittsburgh Pirates – Dale Berra, Lee Lacy, Lee Mazzilli, John Milner, Dave Parker, Rod Scurry – and other notable major league players – Willie Aikens, Vida Blue, Enos Cabell, Keith Hernandez, Jeffrey Leonard, Tim Raines, Lonnie Smith and Alan Wiggins – were called before a Pittsburgh grand jury.

"Chuck Tanner congratulates Dale Berra after he hit a home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Three Rivers Stadium on July 16, 1984 - Pittsburgh Pirates History, Instagram

Eleven players were suspended from the league, but suspensions were lessened in exchange for fines, community service, and drug tests.

The Pittsburgh drug trials were considered to be one of baseball’s biggest scandals, and caused quite the uproar in the country.

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Edited by Hans Themistode
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