Willie Mays Aikens Moves Forward

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- His body hurts.  He walks down the steps at Kauffman Stadium with a limp, holding both physical and emotional scars. But it's not from years as a player in the big leagues, rather years spent doing hard time.

"I was living a destructive lifestyle and I had no plans of stopping what I was doing because I felt like I was having a good time," says Willie Mays Aikens, a former Kansas City Royals' player.

Aikens spent 15 years of his life addicted to cocaine and another 14 years paying for what the drugs did to his life.

"I just decided that, hey, I'm going to live my life the way I want to live my life.  And if I want to snort some coke once in a while and have some drinks, well them I'm going to do that," Aikens said.

In 1980, Aikens hit two home runs in two different games of the World Series against Philadelphia.

"The was a great accomplishment for me," he said. "A thriller."

He was brought to Kansas City to be the clean-up batter behind the great George Brett, but Aikens remembers himself clearing plates of cocaine with his nose.

"My purpose before was to glorify Willie and to satisfy the needs of my flesh," he said.
In 1994, Aikens was sentenced to 20 years and 8 months in the federal pen on controversial drug and firearm charges.

"Am I angry about it now?" he asked. "No, I'm not, but when it first happened to me, of course I was. I was really upset about it. I felt like, you know, what they did to me was unfair."

Fair or not, Aikens admits it saved his life.

"If that doesn't happen to me, and If I'm not taking out of the situation that I'm in, I don't think I would be here," he said.

Released from prison in 2008, Aikens says he's a changed man.

"I have survived this because of the mercy and grace from God," he said "I don't have any doubt about that. And I'm still here because I have a job to do."

Back with the Royals as a Minor League Coach, Aikens is against batting clean-up, this time in life.

"If I can help somebody stay away from the drugs and alcohol that I went through, stay away from the prison life, become a major league baseball player, help a deadbeat dad like I was and became a better father, and for me it goes on and on," said Aikens.

The whole story of Willie Mays Aikens' life is now in a book titled "Safe at Home" written by Gregory Jordan.

To purchase a copy of the book, contact Aikens at Aikenswillie@yahoo.com.

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