Pittsburgh Baseball Drug Trials: A Look Back to 1985 - CLE

Event Date: 
Thursday, October 11, 2018 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Event Location:

Event Audience:


Join Duquesne University School of Law for a special continuing legal education program on October 11, 2018, Pittsburgh Baseball Drug Trials: A Look Back to 1985.

The Program

(Course Materials)

On September 20, 1985, Curtis Strong, a Philadelphia chef and “baseball groupie” was convicted in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on 11 counts of cocaine trafficking. His attorney was also given a 30-day sentence for contempt for his conduct during the trial.

The judgment ended what became known as the Pittsburgh baseball drug trials, a national spectacle about cocaine and the national pastime. Leading up to the single trial, nearly all 26 major league baseball teams had players named in connection with cocaine use. Strong, the only one of the seven indicted to risk trial, was convicted on the testimony of ball players confessing to their own and pervasive cocaine use. The case began with the addiction of Pirate Rod Scurry; the investigation and trial revealed many others: Lonnie Smith, Keith Hernandez, Dave Parker, Dale Berra, and more. Even the Pirate Parrot mascot, Kevin Koch, was named.

Grant Street hosted a media circus as testifying players tried to avoid reporters, and cocaine use was splashed across not only local sports pages, but national television and newspapers.

As part of the U.S. District Court for the Western District’s bicentennial, Duquesne University School of Law will look back to the 1985 case in Pittsburgh and offer a legal retrospective exploring the investigation, prosecution, and trial of the “baseball groupie” who sold cocaine.

The event will feature a panel discussion with:

      • Hon. Gustave Diamond (retired), who presided over the trial;
      • Hon. Judge James Ross, a former assistant U.S. attorney who was part of the prosecution team;
      • Wells Morrison, who served the F.B.I. Pittsburgh Field Office at the time;
      • Sam Reich, the legendary sports agent who represented many of the players; and
      • Mark D. Yochum, a retired law professor, who will moderate the discussion.

Guests will have the opportunity to view an exhibit of newspaper articles and personal memorabilia from individuals involved in the 1985 trial.


Continuing Legal Education Credit

The program will offer two (2) hours of continuing legal education (CLE) substantive credit.



  • $75 Lawyers with CLE Credit
  • $35 Judicial Clerks with CLE Credit
  • Free Judges and Duquesne Law Faculty and Students
  • Free Members of the Public, No CLE Credit

Members of the Duquesne Law Alumni Association (DLAA) save $25 off the cost of a CLE program each fall and spring. Join or renew your DLAA membership today.



Register Today



Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County 

ACBA Bankruptcy & Commercial Law Section 

ACBA Federal Court Section

Duquesne Law Alumni Association 


Special Thanks

Allegheny County Bar Association 

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC 

Pennsylvania Bar Association 

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation


Course Materials

(Please download and printout if desired. Hardcopies will not be provided at session).

Overview-Pittsburgh Baseball Drug Trials-2018-10-11 CLE.pdf

Historical Note-2018-10-11 CLE.pdf

A Note on Prosecution of Drug Dealers-2018-10-11 CLE.pdf

An Ethical Note on the Event-2018-10-11 CLE.pdf

US v. Renfroe_634_F.Supp._1536_2018-10-11 CLE.pdf



Public parking is available in the Forbes Avenue Garage, across from Duquesne University’s Power Center. View the campus map.



Email the Duquesne Law CLE program or call 412.396.6300.