The Hardest Partying ’80s Athletes

Party like it's 1989.

Adam Pockrossby Adam Pockross

Long before social media ruined the fun for Johnny “I Watch Football” Manziel, pro athletes used to really f–king enjoy themselves. A steady diet of hookers and blow seemed to be a vital part of any good ’80s athlete worth his Courvoisier, and the public didn’t have to know about it until an arrest was formally made.

Partying so hard can certainly take a toll. And if the guys on the list below are actually alive, odds are they could use a little pick-me-up. But since most these guys don’t have nostrils anymore, the best we can offer them is an esteemed place on our list of the Hardest Partying ’80s Athletes.

The Hardest Partying ’80s Athletes

Wade Boggs

hardest partying 80s athletes

Generally speaking, guys with great staches greatly enhance both baseball and partying, which is exactly what Boggs did over the course of his stellar career. Boggs was arguably the best hitter in the bigs for the decade of the ’80s, but there’s no argument as to who loved Miller Lite the most. It’s been rumored that on a cross-country flight, Boggs could take down between 50 and 60 cans of the horse piss, and that his personal best was 64 cans on one flight. He denies the exact number in this video, but still, if your beers-per-flight average is higher than most pitchers’ batting averages, you’re definitely someone I’d like to party with.

Lonnie Smith

hardest partying 80s athletes

You don’t just break the Phillie Phanatic’s ankles without being hopped up on something, and odds are pretty good Lonnie was hopped up on everything at the time. Add to that the fact that Lonnie is truly straight out of Compton, and there was a long history of the Phanatic giving Lonnie shit for his pigeon-toed habit of falling on his face, and you’ve got the recipe for a genuine mascot bludgeoning. Fortunately, Lonnie had a moment of clarity before he went through with his plot to murder Royals general manager, John Schuerholz. But those moments of clarity were few and far between during Lonnie’s amazing playing days. He’d been known to do upwards of four 8-balls of coke in a night, enough to kill most normal men. But Lonnie was no normal man, he was an athlete, and as we’re learning from this list, athletes can do more than you.

Andre the Giant

hardest partying 80s athletes

If you partied with Andre in the ’80s, there’s a good chance he drank you, too. He reportedly drank 16 bottles of wine before a match in Madison Square Garden. 75 beers in a night was commonplace for the spandex-stretching behemoth, 100 wasn’t out of the question. 100 beers! I can’t even afford 100 beers, but if I could, it would take me and ten sturdy friends an entire night to drink them all.

The ’86 Mets

hardest partying 80s athletes

Sure, the noted coke “problems” of Doc Gooden and Daryl Strawberry count here. But if we’re just talking about Columbian Dancing Powder, we’re missing out on the feel good drinking story of the ’80s too, thanks in no small part to Doc, Straw, Keith “The White Stache” Hernandez, Lenny Dykstra, Mookie Wilson, and the Scum Bunch, aka Danny Heep, Jesse Orosco, and Doug Sisk. It wasn’t uncommon for the trainer to walk into the locker room and perform triage on the passed-out ballplayers who had emptied the clubhouse fridge the night before. But after a shot of B-12, a sixer, and some smokes, these guys sprang back to life.

Mike Tyson

hardest partying 80s athletes

In the photo above, there’s a good amount of coke that didn’t make it up Iron Mike’s nose, and that’s a waste. But don’t worry, there was plenty more where that came from. Mike did so much blow, he had to pass his drug tests using a whizzer, a fake penis filled with clean urine. Well, however clean urine gets. But Mike didn’t just party in all the conventional ways, he had his own unique way of having fun. In 1989, he rented out a zoo for date night with Robin Givens. At the gorilla exhibit, they saw an alpha male picking on the rest of the apes. So Tyson offered the zookeeper $10,000 to fight the gorilla! Sadly, the zookeeper had ethics, but still, if that’s the kind of shit Mike does on date night, you can imagine how wild he gets on boys night.

Gary McLain

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As point guard of the world-beating 1985 Villanova Wildcats, McClain was definitely the wildest of the bunch, and the highest. McClain admitted to snorting lines all season long, including before the team’s Final Four game against Memphis State. Which is madness, of course. But booger-sugar-powered lunacy is what it takes to do rails before going to visit Ronald Reagan at the White House. Yes, that Ronald, the one who was married to “Just Say No” Nancy. At the celebration, McLain stood mere feet away from the president: “Thinking thoughts like, I could push him in the head, just a little tap, and make news all over the world. That’s how high I was,” McLain wrote in 1987. Yeah, that guy can party.

Lawrence Taylor

hardest partying 80s athletes

LT was always known for having a world-class motor. It turns out that motor was fueled by some seriously high-octane shit. Taylor’s mesmerizing pro career ran on crack, upwards of one ounce per day during his heyday. But being a well-rounded athlete is all about cross training, and LT could do some drinking, too. On his draft day, LT reportedly downed 41 Coors Lights, the only thing he remembers about being drafted second by the New York Football Giants.

Scott Skiles

hardest partying 80s athletes

While at Michigan State between 1982 and 1986, Scotty “The Body” Skiles racked up three arrests. If you’re a big-time college athlete, and a white one at that, it’s hard to get arrested. Local authorities are usually fans of the team, and the guys tend to get away with murder (and rape). But Scotty managed to get popped on three separate occasions: for weed, cocaine possession, and a DUI. Now that’s giving it the old college try!

John Riggins

hardest partying 80s athletes

The MVP of Super Bowl XVII racked up rushing yards and B.A.C. with the same tenacity. He had to hitchhike to the NFC Championship game because he woke up too hungover to make the team bus. He allegedly played a game while tripping on mushrooms (though I can’t personally see how you could do anything but lay in a field if you happened to be on mushrooms). In 1985, at a congressional dinner at the National Press Club, the Redskins running back and Sandra Day O’Connor we’re seated at the same table. Hammered, per usual, Riggo yelled across the table at the Supreme Court Justice: “C’mon, Sandy, baby. Loosen up. You’re too tight.” After some awkward silence, Riggins tried to get up and talk to O’Connor’s husband, fell down along the way, and passed out under a chair. Riggo snored his way through Vice President George Bush’s speech, before getting helped out by two People Magazine editors sitting at the table.

What’s so great about this list is that the majority of the athletes above somehow managed to excel at the highest level, while getting higher than humanly possible. That just goes to show you kids, don’t let anything stop you on your road to success. And if you can’t overcome a hurdle, just find a controlled substance that will help get you there. Be the best you that you can be.