Kansas City, Mo. Willie Mays Aikens, who went from World Series star to federal prison inmate, has returned to baseball.
The 56-year-old Aikens was hired Tuesday as a minor-league coach by the Kansas City Royals and will work out of their complex in Surprise, Ariz.
Aikens hit four home runs for the Royals in their 1980 Series loss to Philadelphia. He later served almost 14 years on gun, bribery and cocaine charges, and his case was often cited as an argument against the mandatory sentencing guidelines then in place.
Aikens was released from federal custody in June 2008 and had said he hoped to get back into the sport that made him famous.
“Royals fans are well aware of Willie’s background and what troubles he has overcome in his life,” said Scott Sharp, Kansas City’s director of minor-league operations. “We feel confident that his story and experiences will serve as a positive influence to all the young players in our organization that he will coach and mentor.”