Sunday, December 21, 2008

R.I.P. - Dock Ellis

Former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis passed away Friday.

Dock Ellis, who infamously claimed he pitched a no-hitter for Pittsburgh under the influence of LSD and later fiercely spoke out against drug and alcohol addiction, died Friday. He was 63.

His wife, Hjordis, said he died at the USC Medical Center in Los Angeles.

“It’s a tremendous loss to the family,” she said. “He’s been struggling for about a year with the end stages of liver disease.”

Ellis was certainly one of baseball's more flamboyant and interesting figures during the seventies. His 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates beat my beloved Baltimore Orioles in the World Series, but I'm too young to remember that. Despite the fact that the Pirates beat my Orioles twice during the 1970s, I have tremendous respect for those Pittsburgh teams: Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Dave Parker, Omar Moreno...those were great teams. The 1979 World Series was my first real exposure to sports heartbreak. I still get a little angry every time I hear Sister Sledge's "We Are Family."

In 1971 Ellis was the starting pitcher for the first all black starting lineup in MLB history. Here's one song I can listen to anytime with no problem: It's Barbara Manning and the S.F. Seals tribute to Dock Ellis from their Baseball Trilogy EP. The psychedelic feel of the song is a perfect tribute to the pitcher's wild days in the seventies.

4 comments:

Barbara Manning said...

Thanks for this

Pete Bilderback said...

Thank you Barbara! I love this song.

dan said...

Great song!

L said...

thankyou Barbara and FT blogger.