Fascinating stuff from the Palm Beach Post’s Joe Capozzi ; were it not for differences in age and place of employment, there’s a manager in Marlins system who could well have been the guy to bust Butch Hobson.
Long before he became Marlins minor-league manager Dean Treanor (above), he was known on the central coast of California as heroin dealer Mike Jackson.
Others back in the late 1970s and early ’80s might have known him as the Cal Poly student who peddled marijuana, or as the businessman with a taste for cocaine. Beneath the disguises was a former pitching prospect who would return to baseball after an unusual detour as a narcotics detective with the San Luis Obispo Police Department.
I was an undercover narc,” Treanor said matter-of-factly recently on a back field at Roger Dean Stadium. “I bought it all, from heroin on down. A lot of cocaine.”
Today, Treanor’s shaggy hair and beard are long gone and his No. 1 mission is to help minor-leaguers reach the majors. But there are still reminders – including an intimidating gaze and penchant for profanity – of the street-wise officer who helped the Drug Enforcement Administration work cases three decades ago.
Treanor, 60, doesn’t discuss his law-enforcement background with his players on the Albuquerque Isotopes of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League. But they can readily see his intensity for the job at hand, whether he is working out in the exercise room or getting tossed from a game for arguing with umpires.
Treanor said “baseball has been in my blood” his entire life. In 1970, he threw a no-hitter for Cal Poly and was drafted that year by the Cincinnati Reds.
After reaching Class AA, he tore his rotator cuff, an injury that ended his career in 1975.
“I was bitter when I left with the injury,” he said, “but it came down to needing a job. It was not waking up in the morning and saying, ‘I’m going to be a police officer.’ I saw an ad in the paper and applied.”
For 13 years, starting in ’75, he worked for his hometown San Luis Obispo Police Department, first in patrol, later in narcotics.
Soon, Treanor was disappearing from his wife and two children for weeks at a time, roaming the streets in search of drug dealers. He wore disguises like a West Coast version of New York undercover legend Frank Serpico.
Treanor remembers having to make sure his car looked like that of a crook, too.
“I went to one house to make a buy. Happened to look out the window and saw two guys going through my car,” Treanor said. “They were looking for a (police) radio, anything. I always kept a gun in the glove compartment for that reason, so when they opened the glove compartment they’d find that gun. I wanted them to see that.”
Today, his daughter and son still laugh with him about the times he took them shopping while he was in disguise.
“If we went to a clothing store, we were followed by an employee,” he said. “They pegged me as a potential shoplifter.”