Major League Turbulence

Baseball in the Era of Drug Use, Labor Strife and Black Power, 1968–1988


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About the Book

The decades between the late 1960s counterculture and the advent of steroid use in the late 1980s bought tumult to Major League Baseball. Dock Ellis (Pirates, Yankees) and Dick Allen (Phillies, Cardinals, Dodgers, White Sox) epitomized the era with recreational drug use (Ellis), labor strife (Allen), and the questioning of authority. Both men were Black Power advocates at a time when the movement was growing in baseball. In the 1970s and 1980s, Marvin Miller and the Major League Baseball Players Association fought numerous, mostly victorious battles with MLB and team owners. This book chronicles a turbulent period in baseball, and in American life, that led directly to the performance-enhancing drug era and the dramatically changed nature of the game.

About the Author(s)

Douglas M. Branson is the Sell Chair in Law (emeritus) at the University of Pittsburgh and the author of more than 20 books.

Bibliographic Details

Douglas M. Branson

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 257
Bibliographic Info: 13 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8058-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4066-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
1. Tabula Rasa: Baseball’s Golden Age 7
2. The Age of Innocence’s Final Years 14
3. Trouble Ahead, Trouble Behind 25
4. In the Steel City: Dock Ellis, 1968–1975 37
5. Standard Bearer as Black Power Surfaces? 48
6. In the City of Brotherly Love: Dick Allen, 1963–1970 56
7. Baseball’s Biggest Outlaw 65
8. Pride of Wampum, Pennsylvania 76
9. Similarities and Differences: Ellis Versus Allen 85
10. Effects on the Game 95
11. Recreational Drugs Creep into Baseball 102
12. White Powder’s Allure 109
13. Drugs Come of Age 119
14. The Pittsburgh Drug Trials 131
15. Marvin Miller, the MLBPA, and Labor Strife 140
16. Twists and Turns in the Demise of the Reserve System 153
17. Major League Baseball’s ­Non-Answer 167
18. MLB’s Drug Abuse Target: Steve Howe 176
19. Users Left by the Wayside 185
20. Turbulence as the Bridge to PEDs 196
21. MLB Finally Regulates Drug Use 202
Postscript 205
Chapter Notes 213
Bibliography 237
Index 243

Book Reviews & Awards

  • Major League Turbulence stands as an important book to help fans understand how baseball got to the place it resides in today’s sporting consciousness, for better or worse.”—Pittsburgh Quarterly