Ron Darling details drug, alcohol use of '86 Mets in new book

Thirty years after their World Series title, the 1986 New York Mets, known as much for their on-field success as their off-field excess, still resonate.

Ron Darling, who was the Mets' starting pitcher in Game 7 of the World Series, details in his new book, "Game 7, 1986: Failure and Triumph in the Biggest Game of My Life," how drugs and alcohol even helped fuel the team during games.

In an excerpt that appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Darling explains that players would take amphetamines before games and sometimes resort to alcohol to re-trigger the effects of the amphetamines.

"You'd see guys toward the end of a game, maybe getting ready for their final at-bat, double-back into the locker room to chug a beer to 're-kick the bean' so they could step to the plate completely wired and focused and dialed in," Darling wrote. "They had it down to a science, with precision timing. They'd do that thing where you poke a hole in the can so the beer would flow shotgun-style. They'd time it so that they were due to hit third or fourth that inning, and in their minds that rush of beer would kind of jump-start the amphetamines and get back to how they were feeling early on in the game -- pumped, jacked, good to go."

While Mets stars such as Dwight Gooden and Daryl Strawberry were known for their hard-partying ways, Darling, now a baseball analyst for TBS, said the clubhouse drug use was not party-related, but merely a reality of trying to survive a grueling season.

"This was how you played 155 games a season, because even your horses needed a day off every here and there," Darling wrote. "This was how you got paid, how you cheated time. You found a way to power through, and for a great many of us this could only happen with a pharmaceutical assist."