Saturday, December 20, 2008

RIP Dock Ellis

Former Yankees pitcher Dock Ellis has passed away at the age of 63. Ellis made his mark as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates and was a member of the 1976 Yankees, helping them return to the post-season for what was the first time since 1964. Ellis had been suffering from liver disease and was in failing health for the past year. He died at the UCLA medical center on Friday.

Dock was one of baseball's most colorful characters. He claimed to have been under the influence of LSD when he pitched an 8-walk, no-hitter for the Pirates at San Diego in 1970. His best season came a year later when he set career marks in wins (19), innings (226.1), and complete games (11). He was a member of the Pirates from 1968-1975, helping to lead Pittsburgh to 4 NL East titles and one World Series championship.

Prior to the 1976 season, he was part of a deal that helped shape the Yankees for years to come, being sent along with Willie Randolph and Ken Brett to the Yankees for Doc Medich. He went 17-8, 3.19 in 32 starts as the Yankees captured the AL East. Ellis picked up one victory over the Royals as the Yankees took the pennant and he was the losing pitcher in game 3 of the World Series.

After just 3 starts the following season, the outspoken, hard-living Ellis was dealt to the A's for Mike Torrez, who would become a World Series hero that season for the Yankees.

In 1986, the Yankees hired Ellis to speak to their minor leaguers about the evils of alcohol and drug addiction. He continued his advocacy work through the rest of life. He is survived by his wife, Hjordis.

RIP Dock.

Source: AP

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