Sometimes a player comes along and stamps himself into the fabric of whatever game he’s playing and Dock (not Doc) Ellis was that cat. He died Friday at age 63 from liver problems he was dealing with for a while.
Dock transcended statistics because he shook up baseball on and off the field. He played 12 years in the league with the Pittsburgh, Oakland, both the Yankees and the Mets and the Texas Rangers before retiring in 1979 with a record of 138-119. Most will unfortunately remember him for pitching a no hitter while on LSD, but what I remember was how conscious Dock was on social issues. He spoke out whenever he got the chance and was one of the best teammates one could have. He was always down for the cause and worked with inmates transistioning back to society and ran a drug counseling center in L.A. The homerun that Reggie Jackson hit out of the world in Detroit? Dock gave that up. He was as colorful as they came and it had to be a joy to see him do his thing. He knew being outspoken would hinder his career and did it anyway. He’ll always get mad respect from here just because of that. He once threw at the big boppers on the Big Red Machine in attemps to fire up his team. After beaning Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Dan Driessen and walking Tony Perez. Dock went Johnny Bench head hunting and was pulled. All of this came in the first inning. Now that’s a teammate. Be Peace my brotha.