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Pepitone and Schellhase Join an Ever-Growing List

March 20, 1985|From Times Wire Services

Tuesday was another of those days that makes sports fans see beyond the playing fields.

Joe Pepitone, a former New York Yankee first baseman, was arrested for possession of drugs, and Dave Schellhase, a former All-American basketball player, resigned as basketball coach at Indiana State to enter an alcoholism treatment center.

And, in federal grand jury proceedings in Pittsburgh, all-star outfielder Tim Raines of the Montreal Expos and three current or former Pittsburgh Pirates have testified in a continuing investigation into cocaine trafficking.

Pepitone, the man who is credited with bringing the hair dryer into the major league clubhouse in the late 60s and noted for his off-field escapades, was charged, along with two other men, with possession of some pills, heroin worth $70,000 and and an eighth of a kilogram of cocaine.

Pepitone, 44, was arrested after the car in which he was riding was stopped late Monday night for allegedly running a red light in Brooklyn. When plainclothesmen pulled the car over, they found a loaded .22-caliber pistol, drugs and drug paraphernalia, $7,000 in cash and lists of names and phone numbers.

Following his arraignment late Tuesday night, Pepitone's bail was set at $15,000. He faces a prison term of 15 years to life if convicted.

Pepitone left major league ball abruptly in 1973 after having been traded to Atlanta by the Chicago Cubs. He went to Japan and played part of a season there, later spent several seasons playing professional softball, then rejoined the Yankees in 1982 as a major league batting instructor. He later was removed from that position and put into a public relations job, then was dismissed from that last July.

His attorney said that Pepitone's current occupation was not precisely known.

"He does some public relations work, not in an official capacity, I don't think," said Stephen Flamhaft, Pepitone's attorney. "He's not connected with the Yankees or any other team."

Schellhase, who starred at Purdue for two seasons in the mid-60s and spent a season in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls, admitted his alcoholism and checked into an alcoholism treatment center. Schellhase, 40, is expected to remain at the treatment center for at least a month.

His wife, Wendy, said that her husband may get out of coaching altogether. "I'm not sure Dave wants to coach again," she said. "It's been three tough years."

Schellhase's teams finished 9-19, 14-14 and 14-15.

In Pittsburgh, Raines, who admitted to cocaine use in 1982 and spent time in a drug rehabilitation center, testified on drug trafficking. The federal investigation reportedly centers on the suppliers of cocaine to major league players, not the players themselves.

Pirate outfielder Lee Mazzilli and pitcher Rod Scurry appeared before the panel earlier this year, as did New York Yankee infielder Dale Berra, a former Pirate. Berra later issued a statement saying that he was not a target of the investigation but that he had merely been called as a background witness.

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