PLAINS TWP. – Former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Dickie Noles had a rough start in life. His mother became pregnant with him when she was raped at 12. She married four times to men who were alcoholics and drug abusers.
She was always seeking someone to fix, Noles said during a program sponsored by the Wyoming Valley Drug & Alcohol Services at the East Mountain Inn on Wednesday evening. My mom was never told she was loved, so she told it to me all the time.
In a fast-talking North Carolina drawl, Noles, 55, told how he became a baseball player in fourth grade, and a beer drinker in seventh. He described his own battles with alcohol and drugs and how it affected his life and career.
Noles was a pitcher for the Phillies, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles. He is best known for pitching in the 1980 World Series.
Noles, a born-again Christian, has been drug- and alcohol-free since April 9, 1983, when he was arrested and jailed for assaulting a police officer after a game.
He serves as an employee assistance counselor for the Phillies, and is active in children's charities. Noles credits Alcoholics Anonymous' 12-step program for saving his life.
It is a true miracle that I am standing here today.
Carmen Ambrosino, CEO of WVDAS, said there is a possibility that Noles will visit area schools to promote awareness and education of drug and alcohol abuse and commended him for being an inspiration. You're one of those heroes who've touched thousands of lives.
Former Penguins hockey player Dennis Bonvie was also on hand to talk about his work with WVDAS. He recently partnered with the agency to counsel middle school students in the Lehighton School District.
I talk to them about people I know who've had drug or alcohol problems, he said. The big thing is to generate awareness.