DOCK ELLIS, 1945 – 2008

We’re all about the music here at Light In The Attic but every once in a while something outside the standard vein just jumps out at us and we have to report.  Such is the way with this weekend’s death of famed baseball player Dock Ellis.  Aside from being one of the great pitchers of the last century Dock Ellis was, well, known for a few key, exciting bits of trivia:

*  No-hitting the San Diego Padres on June 12, 1970 despite being, as he would claim in 1984, under the influence of LSD throughout the course of the game.[1] Ellis had been visiting friends in Los Angeles under the impression he had the day off and was still high when his girlfriend told him 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 clearly see the batter or catcher. Ellis claims catcher Jerry MayBill Mazeroski and center fielder Matty Alou.[2] During the game, Ellis is reported to have commented to his teammates on the bench between innings that he was pitching a no-hitter, despite the superstition that discourages mentioning a no-hitter while it is in progress. 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.[3] wore reflective tape on his fingers which helped Ellis to see his target. Ellis walked eight, struck out six, and was aided by excellent fielding plays by second baseman

According to Ellis:

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. 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.

*  Beaning Reggie Jackson in the face in apparent retaliation for Reggie’s monstrous home run off Ellis in the 1971 All-Star game in Detroit.

*  Attempting to hit every batter in the Cincinnati Reds lineup on May 1, 1974. In an effort to prove a point to teammates, Ellis hit Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, and Dan Driessen in the top of the first. The clean-up batter Tony Perez avoided Ellis’ attempts, instead drawing a walk, and after two pitches aimed at the head of Johnny Bench, Ellis was removed from the game by manager Danny Murtaugh. Ellis’ box score for the game reads: 0 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K.

*  Arguing with and being maced by a Riverfront Stadium security guard on May 5, 1972. The guard claimed 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.

Dock, you fiery sum’bitch, we’re certainly going to miss you.