Saturday, December 20, 2008

RIP Dock Ellis

"Who is Dock Ellis?" if probably what you are asking right now. And that's a very fair question. Dock Ellis was a middling Starting Pitcher from 1968-1979, playing, most notably, for the World Series Champion* Pittsburgh Pirates in 1971. He has a 3.46 ERA and 1.288 WHIP in 2127.1 IP.

Other than that, not much. He does have a no-hitter to his name. June 12, 1970, to be exact. But lots of people have pitched no-no's before, what's the big deal?

Dock Ellis claims to have pitched this no-hitter while on an acid trip. Apparently he did not realize he had to pitch that day, so he decided to ingest some LSD, and then his girlfriend told him he had to pitch, and he pitched a no-hitter.

Beyond that, there was the time he beaned Reggie Jackson in the face as a retaliation for the moonshot Jackson hit off of him in the All-Star Game years previous.

Another time, to make a point to his teammates, he vowed to bean everyone in the opposing lineup. In the first inning.

Plus, he was once threatened with a fine by Major League Baseball for wearing his hair curlers out on to the field for pregame warm-up. Ya, hair curlers. It also explains the picture above of the man in hair curlers.

He was probably one of the more interesting characters to ever play the game of baseball, but he was also certainly indicative of the times. His admission of LSD use is just one in a long line of admissions to drug use of players, from Keith Hernandez to Tim Raines.** We went from watching players using performance debilitating drugs, and getting punished somewhat for it, to watching players use and abuse performance enhancing drugs.

The times, they are a'changin...

Dock Ellis, 1945-2008
*I resisted from calling them the "World Champions," even though the best team in Major League Baseball is the best team in the world.
**Favorite drug related story: Tim Raines, who should be in the Hall of Fame, learned how to slide head-first instead of feet-first so as not to bust the crackpipe that he carried in his back pocket while he was playing. Just amazing.

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