Latest News

Related Coverage Background stories:

The spaceman's global view

Book review: 'The Wrong Stuff' by Bill Lee with Dick Lally

Lee on hot seat again?

Back to Globe Magazine contents

Your Views Join a discussion about topics in the Sunday Magazine

Click here for a table of contents and a list of special online features


Search the Globe:


Sections Boston Globe Online: Page One Nation | World Metro | Region Business Sports Living | Arts Editorials Columnists Calendar Discussion Forums Classifieds Latest news Extranet Archives

Low-graphics version

The Boston Globe OnlineBoston.com Boston Globe Online / Metro | Region July 20, 1997

Lee on hot seat again?

By Will McDonough Globe Staff, 6/4/80

Bill Lee likes to talk but doesn't relish being used.

"I think I'm being exploited ," said Lee, who is the subject of two controversial articles in separate magazines hitting the newsstands this week.

In the July issue of Playboy, Lee does a short question-and-answer bit with former Boston TV sportscaster Samantha Stevenson, who is now a free-lance writer. Of the nine questions posed, three deal with sex and one with drugs.

In the July issue of High Times, the piece by Ken Kelly is much longer and deals mostly with drugs, quoting Lee at length about his personal usage and that of others (unnamed) in baseball.

"I don't intend to read either story," said Lee, "but I will get Playboy to look at the pictures. I like their pictures."

On the whole, though, Lee isn't happy about the stories or the possibility of getting into another beef with Comr. Bowie Kuhn, who fined him $250 a year ago for some comments he made about using pot with his breakfast cereal.

"People ask me questions. I give the answers. I never denied anyone information. I try to talk with everyone. People call me on the phone, I answer it. I don't have any recorded answering services like some other guys. I'm a free person, and maybe this is the price I pay. But I'll always be open. It might have taken me out of Boston, but if it did it has taken me to a far greater place."

Lee is now pitching for the Expos in Montreal, where he says the game is more fun. "I'm playing baseball again. I'm having fun. I get a chance to hit. I got 3 for 3 the other night and I'm hitting .333. But I can't say my pitching has been good. I've got to start keeping the ball down or I'm going to get killed."

In the Montreal papers yesterday, ads were starting to appear plugging the Playboy piece. He wasn't aware that the High Times article had been published.

"I'd like to let sleeping dogs lie," said Lee, when told over the phone that the High Times piece quotes him as saying that he was going to sue Kuhn over his fine a year ago. "That statement simply isn't true, like some other things I reportedly said. I'm not suing Kuhn. I don't sue people. If I wanted to sue I had the perfect case with the Yankees in 1976 when I separated my shoulder in that fight. But I didn't sue then and I'm not going to sue now.

"I did the interview with Kelly in San Francisco, not in spring training like it says, so you can negate whatever he says in the article after that. Kelly is a jerk. He tried to exploit me, make a buck off me. I always try to deal straight with people. Then you run into a situation where they only use what they want to use. They don't give the complete answer, or everything you had to say about a subject. There's never any clarification."

On the Playboy piece:

"That was done over a year ago in St. Louis. I wasn't comfortable with the interview right from the beginning. Everything she did was leading, like I was a neophyte on the block. I took her around to the museum to look at art, and she was talking like she was doing a story on the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders."

Lee was asked what his answer would be if Kuhn asked him if he said all of the controversial things he is quoted as saying in the stories:

"My answer would be no. I didn't say all of those things. I said some of them. I'd tell him that what I did say was my honest opinion. That I believe in freedom of speech, and my right to speak with everyone. I'd tell him that I'm a free person who doesn't believe in going to court, or in lawyers. I'd quote Shakespeare to him, about "first, we kill all the lawyers."

In the High Times story Lee was quoted as saying that if Kuhn fined everyone in baseball who smoked dope "he'd be a very rich man."

"Hell, that's nothing new. I told Kuhn that myself. Actually, I told Art Fuss (director of security) from his office a year ago, so that won't be the first time he's heard it."

Click here for advertiser information

Boston Globe Extranet
Extending our newspaper services to the web
© Copyright 1998 Globe Newspaper Company

Return to the home page
of The Globe Online