PITTSBURGH -- The locker of baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays was a source of amphetamines when Mays played with the New York Mets, retired outfielder John Milner testified Thursday in a federal cocaine trafficking trial.
The former Met said his first introduction to a liquid amphetamine called 'red juice' was from a bottle he took from Mays' locker. Milner also said amphetamines were regularly placed in his own locker when he was with the Pirates.
The disclosures of ballplayers' illegal use of the pills in their clubhouses came during the trial of Curtis Strong, 38, a Philadelphia caterer and baseball groupie charged on 16 counts of selling cocaine to major leaguers in Pittsburgh between 1980 and 1984.
Defense attorney Adam Renfroe asked Milner whether 'management' had given him the 'red juice' or 'greenies.'
'Management wasn't giving me greenies or red juice or speed. Willie had the red juice,' Milner said.
'Did he give it to you?'
'He didn't give it to me. I went into the locker and got it,' said Milner.
'You went into Willie Mays' locker and got it?' asked Renfroe. 'Willie Mays?'
'The great one, yes,' said Milner. 'I never seen him take it. It was there.'
Mays was not immediately available for comment.
Milner said he did not like the red juice and did not try it again but did use other forms of amphetamines during his playing days. He said while with the Pirates he found pills left in his locker.
'When I'd come in before the game, they'd already be in my locker ... not every game ... mostly before games at the end of the season when players were worn out or a little tired,' Milner answered in response to a series of questions.
Milner played with the Mets from 1971 to 1977 and for Pittsburgh from 1978 to the middle of the 1981 season. After a trade to Montreal, he returned to Pittsburgh in 1982. Mays played for the Mets in 1972 and 1973. He also later served with the club as a part-time coach and batting instructor.
Milner was the seventh and last ballplayer called to testify by the prosecution.
However, the defense has said it will also call players when it begins presenting its case, probably next week. All testifying ballplayers have been granted immunity from prosecution.
Milner's statement came shortly after Cincinnati Reds star Dave Parker became the second former Pirate player to testify that team captains Willie Stargell and Bill Madlock dispensed amphetamines in the Pittsburgh clubhouse.
Madlock, a four-time batting champion, and Stargell, one of the great sluggers in Pittsburgh history, both have denied they distributed the pills, which are legally dispensed only by prescription.
New York Yankees infielder Dale Berra testified Wednesday that he obtained 'uppers' or 'greenies' from Stargell, currently first base coach for the Pirates, and Madlock, who was traded recently to the Los Angeles Dodgers, when all three were with the Pirates.
Parker, also a former Pirate, was asked by the prosecutor, U.S. Attorney J. Alan Johnson, if he had used amphetamines.
'Yes, I used them.'
'Where did you get them?' Johnson said.
'Stargell, Madlock,' Parker replied.
Parker said amphetamines are 'commonly used' in baseball to fight fatigue.
'At one time, I understand teams used to keep them in training rooms and players would just go in and get them.'
Parker testified Wednesday he bought cocaine at least four times from Strong in Pittsburgh and he used cocaine for six years, until 1982.
Strong is one of seven men indicted on drug trafficking charges earlier this summer after a lengthy grand jury investigation into cocaine use in professional baseball. Three of the defendants have pleaded guilty and three are awaiting trial.