Ken Gurnick, the L.A.-based writer for MLB.com who covers the Dodgers, knows Pedro Guerrero all to well from his days writing about the team for the old Los Angeles Herald Examiner.
Gurnick’s examination of where the former Dodgers star right fielder/third baseman has come is included in a post today (linked here):
“I’ve been trying to get back for a long time, but you know how it is,” the 53-year-old Guerrero says. “It’s kind of hard after so many years, so many things happened.”
Things like …
“I used to come to the park with a hangover every day and I could still play like that. Can you imagine if I had been 100 percent sober all the time? It’s too late now to think about, but I can tell the kids what it did to me.”
After 10 seasons — he was the co-World Series MVP in 1981 — the Dodgers traded Guerrero to St. Louis in 1988 on their way to the World Series, for pitcher John Tudor. Guerrero was managed with the Cardinals by Joe Torre . Guerrero has since reached out to Torre as well.
Guerrero twice made headlines after his premature retirement in 1992: He was acquitted on federal cocaine conspiracy charges in ’99, when his attorney argued that Guerrero didn’t understand what he was doing because of a low IQ. There was also a bizarre 911 phone call from O.J. Simpson accusing Guerrero of drug use (he was not charged).
“Now, I feel like a new man,” Guerrero says. “I know I did a lot of wrong things and especially when I was playing. I don’t feel like I did baseball like an everyday job. I let down a lot of people. Now, I’m a new man. I go to church, I’m reading the Bible, I pray every day. The last three years, I quit drinking. That was my big problem. Now, I’m working with kids in the Dominican. I teach the kids the game and work with them and help them get good enough to get a contract. I tell them to stay away from drugs and drinking. I’m 100 percent different.”