Monday, May 5, 2003 Updated: June 2, 11:32 AM ET
This Bud's for you!
By Jeff Merron Page 2 staff
Mike Price. Larry Eustachy. Top-notch coaches. Mere footnotes in the annals of sports wildmen (and women).
So, who's in Page 2's Hall of Fame For Sports' Party Animals? We're glad you asked:
1. Babe Ruth
The Babe publicly celebrated his overindulgences -- food, drink, women -- but privately, there were misgivings. Like the night a teammate told Lou Gehrig he better come check up on Ruth. When Gehrig arrived at Ruth's room, he found the Babe in tears, upset at his inability, that night, to please two ladies at once.
He repented on a regular basis. "After a rousing Saturday night on the town, the Babe would drag us to mass with him on Sunday morning," said teammate Waite Hoyt. "When the collection plate came around, he'd peel off 50 bucks, figuring, I guess, that he'd paid for his sins for the week."
It's always happy hour when Daly is around.
2. John Daly
The bad boy of golf sucked down whiskey like it was water, ate himself to obesity, threw fits on the golf course, trashed hotel rooms, and lost millions gambling. He lived large, leaving a trail of three ex-wives, 10 houses and 20 cars, and still won two majors -- the 1991 PGA Championship and 1995 British Open. After three rehabs, something stuck, and at 37, he is, amazingly, still alive.
3. Doc, Darryl, and your 1986 World Champion Mets
A 1995 SI article about the downfalls of Darryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden called the 1986 Mets a "portable party," and that party cabana was filled with plenty of booze, greenies, cocaine and other things that make brains look like eggs frying.
Make no mistake -- this was one huge party team and the festivities went on for a long, long time. "When Doc came out of Smithers in 1987," former Mets trainer Steve Garland told SI, "he talked to me about how prevalent the drug use was on the team. He started calling off names. He rattled off more than 10 -- more than half the team. Probably around 14 or 15. And I thought the '84, '85 and '86 teams were wilder."
4. Michael Irvin and the "White House" Cowboys
Irvin celebrated his 30th birthday with former Cowboy Alfredo Roberts. According to Texas Monthly, "Party favors included 10.3 grams of cocaine and more than an ounce of marijuana, assorted drug paraphernalia and sex toys." He was also a regular at the "White House," a private pleasure palace near the team's training facility, where he and many teammates enjoyed their R&R, which apparently included just about any wanton activity you could imagine.
The Boys got plenty of heat for their bacchanalian ways. William Bennett, author of "The Book of Virtues," condemned Irvine and Co. for "hurting this country's morale." Lineman Nate Newton demurred. "We've got a little place over here where we're running some whores in and out, trying to be responsible, and we're criticized for that, too."
5. Eleanor Holm
What's an energetic young woman to do when she's at her peak, on a ship bound for Europe and the Olympics? Party hearty might not have been part of the lexicon in 1936, but that's what Holm, the 1932 Olympic gold medalist in the 100 meter backstroke, did. Aboard the S.S. Manhattan, she drank until 6 a.m. one morning, and continued to drink even after she was warned, arguing that she was "free, white and 22." One night she almost drank herself to death; she recovered, but was thrown off the Olympic team.
It didn't slow her down. Though not competing, she became the toast of Berlin, telling SI in 1972, "I had such fun! I enjoyed the parties, the Heil Hitlers, the uniforms, the flags & Goering was fun. He had a good personality &"
Remember this guys! Didn't think so.
6. Vitas Gerulaitis
John McEnroe's close friend, Gerulaitis, who was once ranked as high as third in the world, initiated McEnroe, Pat Cash and likely quite a few others into the cocaine-laced party scene of the late 1970s. Even Andy Warhol took note of his partying ways, writing in his diaries about how McEnroe and Gerulaitis made the scene at Studio 54 and Xenon. And, Warhol wrote, Gerulaitis, by the late 1970s, had been "wearing his gold coke-cutter razor blade around his neck during matches."
7. Damon Stoudamire and Rasheed Wallace
One's Cheech. The other's Chong.
8. Hollywood Henderson
Cocaine. On and off the field. Now a recovered drug addict, Henderson admitted that he often played high, like when, during Super Bowl XIII, he tucked an inhaler of liquefied cocaine inside his uni. He made and snorted a million bucks by the time Tom Landry had had enough of him in 1979, but eventually found financial redemption in the Texas lottery: a few years ago, Henderson won a jackpot of $10.7 million.
9. Max McGee
The aging receiver had barely played (on the field) at all during the 1966 season, so he expected to see little, if any, action in the first Super Bowl. It was his habit to ignore rules that impinged on his playboy lifestyle, once bragging that he had "snuck out 11 straight nights after curfew without being caught." So it was no surprise that he skipped out after bed check and took in the L.A. scene the night before the Pack played the Chiefs.
On the sidelines the next day, the hungover McGee was jawing with his roommate, Paul Hornung, about the Golden Boy's upcoming stag party when Lombardi called on him to replace the injured Boyd Dowler. McGee, who had caught a total of four passes for 91 yards during the entire regular season, ended up catching seven passes for 138 yards and two TDs, including the first six-pointer in Super Bowl history.
"Max McGee probably played the game of all games in the Super Bowl, considering what he went through," Hornung said recently. "Nobody in all 30 Super Bowls don't even come close to doing what he did. What the hell? I'd like to see every one of them stay out all night and do what he did."
10. Billy Martin
Billy lived in ballparks and bars, and brawled frequently in both venues. There were many notorious drunken fisticuffs involving Martin ("It's not that Billy drinks a lot," wrote Dick Young. "It's just that he fights a lot when he drinks a little.") and, as the saying goes, he usually ended up hurting himself more than others. Like the time, in 1957, when he was at the Copa with Mickey and Yogi and they all got into a fight. Of course, it turned into great tabloid fodder, and someone had to be punished. Who would it be? Martin, banished to Kansas City. Ouch. That's a long way from Gotham.
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