Porter played at a time where cocaine was the equivalent to steroids of the 1990s and beyond. Many players were known to be abusing the drug, particularly from the years of 1980-1985. Porter had put up a top offensive season for a catcher in 1979, hitting .295, 20, 112 with a .905 OPS and led the AL with 121 walks. He also managed to play in 157 games that season, 141 of them behind the plate. Porter's biggest issue with cocaine came in 1980, derailing his season. Of course, the Royals made it to the World Series, where they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies. Porter was just 2-14 in the Series after seeing his numbers drop to .249 BA and .696 OPS for the regular season which saw him play in just 118 games. Who knows if Porter could have single handedly made a difference in the World Series? Perhaps if he was performing at his 1979 level, the Royals could have given the Phillies a little more of a fight.
Porter finished his 17 year career with a .247 career average, 118 HR and 822 RBIs and a .763 OPS. His best seasons were clearly in 1977-1979 with the Royals after not standing out during his time in Milwaukee. During his 5 seasons in St Louis, he hit .262 in 1983. Outside of that, he never hit higher than .232 in a season wearing a Cardinals uniform. No question the cocaine took his toll on Porter, who had the ability to be more potent of an offensive player. But the question is how much. He did have a tremendous postseason for the Cardinals in 1982, winning the NLCS and World Series MVP. Unfortunately, because of the publicity given to players like Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Steve Howe and Willie Aikens, Porter's struggles are less chronicled. Even the cocaine problems of former teammates Keith Hernandez, Willie Wilson and Bernie Carbo are more talked about than the problems Porter had to deal with. But I guess the same questions could be asked about all the just mentioned players. What could have been?