This week, 4HT would like to celebrate a man who embodied everything right about sports in 1970’s. Back when baseball was still played “the right way,” this ambassador of the game shone above the rest, clearly putting himself in a league where few have dared to compete. Long before our national pastime became a watered-down, dissappointing display of good sportsmanship and political correctness, this crusader stuck it to the man on a nightly basis. Naturally, I’m talking about immortal Pirates hurler Dock Ellis, the newest member of the heralded Steelhead Hall of Fame.
Dock made his MLB debut in 1968, and retired in 1979. He finished an up-and-down career with 138 wins, 1,136 strikeouts, and an ERA of 3.46. Ellis played for 5 different teams in this time, and none of the aforementioned credentials are why he is being honored today. Below are the top 5 reasons Dock is the best baseball player of all-time (sorry Harold).
5. Reggie retaliation
Dock faced off against Reggie Jackson in the 1971 All-Star Game, and Jackson took him deep, really deep. Instead of letting it go, and forgetting about the towering shot, our guy had other plans. Ellis threw another fastball at Jackson later, only this one bounced off Mr. October’s face. The “chin music” solidified Dock as a badass, and would set the stage for many more applaudable performances on the mound.
4. Rebel with a cause
It is no secret Dock Ellis was a proponent for the African-American athlete, and was often referred to as the “Muhammed Ali of Baseball” in his heyday. Ellis would wear curlers in his hair pre-game to piss off Pirate brass, was quite outspoken on racial inequalities in baseball, and refused to start the 1971 All-Star Game against Vida Blue, saying baseball would never pit two “soul brothers” against each other. Dock ended up starting, but rocked the shit out the MLB’s boat every chance he was given.
3. Barred from Riverfront Stadium
In 1972, a drunk Ellis, still swilling on a bottle of wine, tried to enter the player’s gate in Cincinnati, only to be apprehended by a security guard. The guard would not allow the superstar in, even after Dock showed his World Series ring as proof of identity. This is when things got ugly. Reports say Ellis threatened the guard with his fist, and then was maced. Talk about making a rock star like entrance.
2. Fuck Cincinnati
Dock was one of the most fiery and competitive athletes ever, and never did he prove this better than in 1974. Pissed that his teammates were playing like a bunch of scared pussies, Ellis decided to take matters into his own hands. Before a game against the Reds, an irate Dock bellowed, “We gonna get down. We gonna do it. I’m gonna hit these motherfuckers,” and that’s EXACTLY what he did. Ellis pegged leadoff man Pete Rose in the ribs, seared Joe Morgan in the side, and then plunked Dan Driessen in the back. At this point, Ellis was far from done crafting his masterpiece. He proceeded to walk Tony Perez after the vagina dodged Dock’s attempts at a beaning, and threw two consecutive fastballs at eternal assbag Johnny Bench‘s head before getting yanked by the Pittsburgh manager. Like Lou Brown says in Major League, “I think you can go get him now…..”
And now for the greatest achievement in the HISTORY of baseball
1. Better living through chemistry
Dock, after an all-night bender, decides to drop acid hours before a game against the Padres. Having no concept of space or time, his girlfriend looks at the newspaper to reveal to a trippin’ balls Ellis that he is scheduled to pitch. Ellis shows up for the game, and throws a NO-HITTER under the influence of LSD. This is easily the single most outstanding, heroic, and implausible feat in the history of sports. His quotes about the “surreal” game can be found in his Wikipedia file, and are a must read.
Today we enshrine Dock Ellis in the Steelhead Hall of Fame. He is as deserving as any, and his legend will live forever.
* Sadly, Ellis is currently suffering from cirrhosis of the liver, and without a transplant, he will pass away. Good luck Dock, you are in our thoughts and prayers.
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