WASHINGTON -- Ken Moffett, fired last November as executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, said Wednesday he believes the FBI has evidence of cocaine use by players during regular-season games.
Moffett said he first received the information from New York Mets' first baseman Keith Hernandez last June when Hernandez was still with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Moffett said he later talked with an FBI official who 'intimated' having 'telephoto pictures of players using cocaine in the bullpens and clubhouses during games' early last season.
'Keith told me (Cardinals' Manager) Whitey Herzog told the (Cardinals') players that he had evidence that three (Cardinals') players were involved in cocaine use,' said Moffett, speaking at a Sports Issues 1984 conference at the Washington Journalism Center.
'Keith said Herzog asked the players to step forward. He said after another team meeting no one did. Shortly after that, Lonnie Smith asked to be admited to a rehabilitation center. Then Hernandez was traded to the Mets and (relief pitcher) Doug Bair was waived, cut, traded, whatever and went to Detroit.
'Draw your own conclusions, but I find the Cardinals' three trades very intriguing, particularly Hernandez's trade, just like I did when Dusty Baker was released (by the Los Angeles Dodgers). The Dodgers still owe him two years salary,' said Moffett.
According to Lane Bonner, supervisory special agent at FBI headquarters in Washington, Moffett's recollection of his talks with FBI personnel are not quite correct.
'During August, 1983, Moffett, at his request, met with FBI officials in Washington in connection with FBI investigations of major league baseball players,' Bonner said. 'During the course of that meeting, no on-going investigation, evidence or investigative technique of any kind was discussed.'
Hernandez could not be reached Wednesday. He was enroute to the Mets' spring training camp in St. Petersburg, Fla., but is not due to report until Thursday afternoon.
Moffett earlier told The Washington Post that he was fired by the MLBPA because of his stand on the use of illegal drugs. Moffett said he and baseball management were near agreement on 'a tough, impartial drug policy.'
Moffett said drug abuse is heavy among major league baseball players.
'I would guess that, on an average, you'd have four or five players per club using illegal drugs,' Moffett told The Post. 'It all depends on the team. Nobody has the acts, nobody knows for sure, including the union. But that's my feeling.'
Moffett was replaced on an acting basis by Don Fehr, MLBPA general counsel under Marvin Miller, the man Moffett replaced.
'Don is the acting executive director but Marvin is in the office almost every day, so I don't know who's in charge,' said Moffett.
Fehr also spoke Wednesday at the Washington conference and said the MLBPA 'is working with management on a drug program. We have some things on the table that may or may not be the basis for an agreement,' he said.
Fehr said the union's stance is that players should not be penalized for what they do in private, so long as it does not effect his ability to perform on the field.
'I couldn't tell you how many players use drugs,' said Fehr. 'I don't know what 'use drugs' means. How many players took a 'greenie' when they were handed out by (club) trainers.
'We do what we can to get appropriate assistance for any individual player for any problem. We also make sure he gets his day in court if he is accused. The term 'wide-spread' drug abuse is not accurate, not meaningful and doesn't address our concerns.'