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Dock Ellis

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Dock Phillip Ellis, Jr. (March 11, 1945December 19, 2008) was a professional baseball player who pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates, among other teams in Major League Baseball. His best season was 1971, when he won 19 games for the World Series champion Pirates and was the starting pitcher for the National League in the All-Star Game. However, he is perhaps best remembered for throwing a no-hitter in 1970 and later stating that he had done it while under the influence of LSD.

Playing careerEdit

Dock Ellis is best known for several incidents during his career:

Beaning Reggie JacksonEdit

Ellis beaned Reggie Jackson in the face, in apparent retaliation for Reggie's monstrous home run off of him in the 1971 All-Star Game in Detroit.[1]

June 12, 1970, no-hitterEdit

Ellis pitched a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres on June 12, 1970. He would admit in 1984 to being under the influence of LSD throughout the course of the game.[2] Ellis had been visiting friends in Los Angeles under the impression that he had the day off, and he was still high when his friend's girlfriend told him that he had to pitch a game against the Padres that night. Ellis boarded a shuttle flight to the ballpark and threw a no-hitter, despite not being able to feel the ball or see the batter or catcher clearly.[3] Ellis said that catcher Jerry May wore reflective tape on his fingers, which helped Ellis to see his signals. Ellis walked eight batters and struck out six, and was aided by excellent fielding plays by second baseman Bill Mazeroski and center fielder Matty Alou.[4] Because the no-hitter was the first game of a double header, Ellis was forced to keep track of the pitch count for the night game.[5]

As Ellis recounted it:

I can only remember bits and pieces of the game. I was psyched. I had a feeling of euphoria. I was zeroed in on the (catcher's) glove, but I didn't hit the glove too much. I remember hitting a couple of batters, and the bases were loaded two or three times. The ball was small sometimes, the ball was large sometimes, sometimes I saw the catcher, sometimes I didn't. Sometimes, I tried to stare the hitter down and throw while I was looking at him. I chewed my gum until it turned to powder. I started having a crazy idea in the fourth inning that Richard Nixon was the home plate umpire, and once I thought I was pitching a baseball to Jimi Hendrix, who to me was holding a guitar and swinging it over the plate. They say I had about three to four fielding chances. I remember diving out of the way of a ball I thought was a line drive. I jumped, but the ball wasn't hit hard and never reached me.[6]

The incident inspired the songs "Dock Ellis" by indie rock singer Barbara Manning, "America's Favorite Pastime" by folk singer Todd Snider, "Dock Ellis' No-No" by Chuck Brodsky,[7] and "LSD (The Ballad of Doc Ellis)" by Boston rock band Random Road Mother. Robin Williams has incorporated the tale into a standup routine for HBO.[8] An animated short film about the game, "Dock Ellis and the LSD No-No", features narration in Ellis's own voice, taken from a 2008 radio interview.[9]

May 5, 1972, macing incident in CincinnatiEdit

Ellis argued with—and was maced by—a Riverfront Stadium security guard on May 5, 1972. The guard said that Ellis did not identify himself and "made threatening gestures with a closed fist." Ellis countered that he was showing his World Series ring as evidence of his affiliation with the Pirates.[10]

May 1, 1974, game against CincinnatiEdit

Ellis attempted to hit every batter in the Cincinnati Reds lineup on May 1, 1974, as retaliation for the macing incident in Cincinnati two years earlier. Ellis hit Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, and Dan Driessen in the top of the first inning. Cleanup batter Tony Perez avoided Ellis's attempts—instead, drawing a walk; and, after two pitches that he aimed at the head of Johnny Bench, Ellis was removed from the game by manager Danny Murtaugh. Ellis's box score for the game reads as follows: 0 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K.[10]

Later careerEdit

On December 11, 1975, Ellis was traded to the New York Yankees, along with Ken Brett and Willie Randolph, in exchange for Doc Medich. Ellis also played for the Oakland Athletics, Texas Rangers, and New York Mets. While with the Rangers, Ellis led a player insurrection against manager Billy Hunter's authoritarian style, declaring that Hunter "may be Hitler, but he ain't making no lampshade out of me."[11] In 1977, the Rangers won 94 games and finished eight games out of first place. Ellis ended his career back in Pittsburgh. He finished with a lifetime record of 138–119 and an ERA of 3.46. Ellis collaborated with future U.S. Poet Laureate Donald Hall on a book, Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball (ISBN 0-671-65988-X), which was published in 1976. Although Hall knew of the LSD incident, he did not include it in the first edition of his book.

Retirement and deathEdit

Ellis retired to Victorville, California, and began a career as a drug counselor.[12] He was diagnosed with cirrhosis in 2007 and was on the list for a transplant at the time of his death.[13] ESPN.com reported on December 19, 2008, that Ellis had died at USC Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA, due to "a liver ailment." [14]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. From no-hitter on LSD to hair curlers to feuds, Dock Ellis was free spirit, New York Daily News, December 22, 2008
  2. "Ball's Out" - Dallas Observer
  3. No Mas Presents: Dock Ellis & The LSD No-No by James Blagden on youtube
  4. Goldaper, Sam. "Roundup: Ellis of Pirates Stops Padres on No-Hitter." New York Times, June 12, 1970.
  5. Christine, Bill. "No-hit Ellis Knows About Pressure." Pittsburgh Press, June 13, 1970.
  6. LSD and the No-Hitter
  7. Chuck Brodsky: Dock Ellis No No on youtube
  8. Robin Williams & Doc Ellis on LSD - Weapons of Self Destruction HBO on youtube.
  9. Witz, Billy. "For Ellis, a Long, Strange Trip to a No-Hitter", September 5, 2010, pp. SP2. Retrieved on 2010-09-07.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Urban Legends Reference Pages: Dock Ellis LSD No-Hitter
  11. Dock Ellis ready to break rules
  12. Template:Cite journal
  13. Elliot, Helene. "Dock Ellis is trying to strike back at a tough foe", Los Angeles Times, 2008-05-13. Retrieved on 2008-05-13.
  14. Crasnick, Jerry. "Former major league pitcher Dock Ellis dies at 63", 'ESPN.com', 2008-12-19. Retrieved on 2008-12-20.

External linksEdit

Template:S-end
Preceded by:
Bob Moose
No-hitter pitcher
June 12, 1970
Succeeded by:
Clyde Wright
Preceded by:
Boog Powell
AL Comeback Player of the Year
1976
Succeeded by:
Eric Soderholm

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