Willie Mays Aikens: “Every day, every game of the World Series…I snorted cocaine”

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For those unfamiliar, Willie Mays Aikens used to play first base for the Kansas City Royals.  He first came to most people’s attention when he had a breakout performance in the 1980 World Series.

He later came to people’s attention in 1983 when he Willie Wilson, Vida Blue, and Jerry Martin of the Kansas City Royals were convicted of conspiracy to buy cocaine from undercover federal agents and were senteced to 90 days in federal prison. And then, finally and most tragically, he came to people’s attention in the mid 90s when he was arrested for selling crack and was sent to federal prison for nearly 14 years.  Then he was forgotten.

He was released from prison in 2008, however, and after that began working in the community and working construction jobs in an effort to make something of a life that had been derailed.  Last year, he was hired by his old team, the Kansas City Royals.  He was home again, getting a second chance.

Today Amy K. Nelson of SB Nation has a fantastic feature — video and in print — on Aikens, his rise, his fall from grace and his redemption.  It’s harrowing and wonderful at the same time and I highly recommend that you give it a read and a view.

Dodgers to retire Fernando Valenzuela’s No. 34 this summer

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers will retire the No. 34 jersey of pitcher Fernando Valenzuela during a three-day celebration this summer.

Valenzuela was part of two World Series champion teams, winning the 1981 Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards. He was a six-time All-Star during his 11 seasons in Los Angeles from 1980-90.

He will be honored from Aug. 11-13 when the Dodgers host Colorado.

Valenzuela will join Pee Wee Reese, Tommy Lasorda, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Jim Gilliam, Don Sutton, Walter Alston, Sandy Koufax, Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson and Don Drysdale with retired numbers.

“To be a part of the group that includes so many legends is a great honor,” Valenzuela said. “But also for the fans, the support they’ve given me as a player and working for the Dodgers, this is also for them.”