Friday, March 11, 2005

March 11th, 1945

Dock Ellis Born

Dock Ellis is most famous, of course, for supposedly having pitched a no-hitter while tripping on LSD, putting him in the odd accomplishment club with David Wells' "half-drunk" perfect game. Ellis is also notable for his 19-9 performance for the 1971 champion "We Are Family" Pirates, although Willie Stargell and gang had to overcome Ellis being shelled in his only appearance as the Pirates' starter in Game One.

Ellis is also worth remembering for his presence in one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history. On December 11th, 1975, the Pittsburgh Pirates
acquired pitcher Doc Medich from the Yankees. In return the Yankees acquired Ellis, pitcher Ken Brett and twenty-one year old second baseman Willie Randolph. Medich pitched one year for the Pirates providing league average innings and little more and was traded to Oakland after the next year. Brett was traded by the Yankees without having even pitched five innings for them, but Ellis and Randolph paid off nicely. In 1976 Ellis won seventeen games for the Yankees, and got the win in Game 3 of the ALCS, although he was again beaten fairly badly in the World Series. Randolph meanwhile, would man the the keystone for the Yankees until 1988, and is among the franchise leaders in walks, runs, on-base percentage and is second to Rickey Henderson in steals.

Ellis further helped the Yankees, after the 1976 season he was traded to Oakland for Mike Torrez. Torrez won fourteen games for the Yankees, and was easily the most valuable non-Reggie Jackson Yankee in the World Series. And of course, Torrez signed with the Red Sox in the off-season which would help the Yankees out the following October. For his part, Ellis would bounce around from Oakland to Texas to the Mets and finally back to Pittsburgh before he retired after the 1979 season, the "man who pitched a no-no on drugs" but also a factor in one of most one-sided trades in history.

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