Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Bernie Carbo's brightest baseball moment, 40 years ago tonight.

40 years ago tonight, Bernie Carbo made possible Carlton Fisk's legendary World Series home run.

But what wasn't known at the time was Carbo's condition -- not just for Game Six of the 1975 World Series, but virtually every game he played in his big league career.

Yes, that's right: Baseball's substance abuse scandals did not begin during the steroid era. In 1970, Jim Bouton's "Ball Four" arguably offered the first public confirmation of drugs in baseball, primarily alcohol and greenies (amphetamines), although Doc Ellis memorably insisted that he pitched a no hitter while journeying on LSD.

By the mid 1980s, it was cocaine -- and Enos Cabell remarked in court that it made him a better player. Doubtless, Carbo would disagree.

I was watching this game back in '75, none the wiser that Carbo had spent the day drinking beer and smoking dope. Cubs fans, take note: It required four World Series appearances by the Red Sox between titles, so get out there, pay your dues, and ... wait, what's that?

You've been to the World Series how many times since 1908?


Never mind.

As for the decade of the 1970s, see the Big Hair and Plastic Grass web site. I also blogged about this book in 2013: Big Hair and Plastic Grass. Get a copy and read it. It's richly entertaining.

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