Imprisoned outfielder Willie Wilson of the Kansas City Royals...


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Imprisoned outfielder Willie Wilson of the Kansas City Royals will find out today if baseball also plans to punish him for his cocaine involvment last summer.

Commissioner Bowie Kuhn will announce today the punishment, if any, baseball intends to impose on Wilson and three other members of the 1983 Kansas City Royals who all pleaded guilty to federal drug charges.


Wilson pleaded guilty in October to a misdemeanor charge of attempting to possess cocaine and was sentenced in November by U.S. Magistrate J. Milton Sullivant to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine. But Sullivant suspended the final nine months of the sentence and Wilson is currently serving time at a minimum security prison in Fort Worth, Texas.

First baseman Willie Aikens and right-fielder Jerry Martin were also given three-month prison terms and were fined $5,000 and $2,500, respectively, after pleading guilty to attempting to possess cocaine.


In addition, former Cy Young winner Vida Blue pleaded guilty in October to a misdemeanor charge of possession of cocaine and is scheduled to be sentenced by Sullivant Dec. 19.

But Wilson is the only one of the four players who figures to be with the Royals in 1984. Blue was released by Kansas City in August and Martin was informed in October that the Royals would not pick up his option for the 1984 season.

In addition, Kansas City worked out a trade at baseball's winter meetings in Nashville last week that would send Aikens to the Toronto Blue Jays for Jorge Orta -- but the deal hinges on the severity of punishment handed down by Kuhn.

If the 1982 American League batting champion Wilson is suspended by Kuhn for all or part of the 1984 season, the Royals would have to scramble to find a center fielder and a lead-off hitter.

'The commissioner has always demonstrated to me in decisions he has made that he's been on-balance, rational and even-handed,' Schuerholz said. 'I'm not looking for either a break or a harsh punishment (for Wilson) -- I'm looking for him to dish out what he thinks is an appropriate penalty.


'There's no track record for this type of thing; it's never happened before so I don't know what to expect. I can't even guess.'

Wilson is considered the fastest player in baseball and has distinguished himself in all phases of the game during his six-year career. In addition to winning the 1982 batting crown with a .332 average, Wilson also led the American League in stolen bases with 83 in 1979 and won a Gold Glove for his defensive play in the outfield in 1980.

Wilson, a member of the 1982 American League All-Star team, became the first player in baseball history to post 700 at-bats in a single season (1980) and also set a major-league record for hits by a switch-hitter that year with 230.

The four players pleaded guilty to drug charges stemming from a nine-month investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Kansas Attorney General's office and the Johnson County District Attorney's office.

Latest Headlines


Follow Us