Willie Aikens is finally a free man from federal prison. People my age and older will remember him as an intregal part of the Kansas City Royals in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, and a first baseman and DH.
In 1980, Aikens got the game-winning RBI in Game 3 of the 1980 World Series. It was the Royals’ first-ever win in a World Series game. Aikens hit .400 for the series. He is the only player in World Series history to hit two home runs in the same game twice during the same World Series.
Following the 1983 season, Aikens and teammates Willie Wilson and Jerry Martin and former teammate Vida Blue pleaded guilty to attempting to purchase cocaine. Aikens was suspended and the Royals traded him to Toronto for designated hitter Jorge Orta. Aikens played parts of two seasons for Toronto, mostly as a DH, before winding up his career in the Mexican League. In 1985, Aikens testified in the scandalous Pittsburgh drug trials.
After his career, Aikens’ legal problems continued, culminating when Aikens was found guilty of selling 63 grams of crack cocaine to an undercover police officer and sentenced to 20 years and 8 months in prison. Aikens is sometimes cited as an example of the results of mandatory minimum sentencing in drug-related crimes.