Pittsburgh Pirates Black History Month Tribute: The First All-Minority Lineup in MLB History
By Noah Wright
Starting pitcher: Dock Ellis
Dock Ellis might go down in history as one of the most interesting pitchers in MLB history. Aside from his standout personality, Ellis will forever be remembered for his no hitter on June 12th, 1970. What was so special about it? Well Ellis did it while tripping on LSD. Yes, this then 25-year-old Ellis pitched a no-hitter, one of the hardest feats in baseball, while tripping on acid.
Regardless of his interesting no hitter, Ellis was a very talented pitcher, having a 3.22 ERA/3.09 FIP in the previous 3 seasons. Ellis had one of the best seasons of his career in 1971. In 226.2 innings pitched, Ellis threw for a 3.06 ERA, 2.96 FIP, and 1.19 WHIP. Ellis walked just 2.5 batters per 9, and gave up only 15 home runs. His success that season led to Ellis starting the All-Star game for the National League in 1971. Ellis continued his dominance throughout the rest of his Pirates tenure, having a 3.15 ERA, 2.94 FIP, and very low walk (2.3/9) and home run (.5/9) rates from ‘72 to ‘75.
After his time in Pittsburgh, Ellis was traded to the New York Yankees after the ‘75 season, and performed fairly well. If pitching a no-hitter while high wasn’t interesting enough, Ellis was traded three times twice in his career. First in 1976. After pitching three extremely brilliant games in New York, he was traded to the Oakland A’s where he reunited with Manny Sanguillen. However, the Ellis/Sanguillen tandem didn’t last long, nor was as effective as it was in Pittsburgh, as Ellis gave up 5 home runs and 28 earned runs in 26 innings. He was subsequently traded to the Texas Rangers where he looked like he re-found his grove. Ellis continued his career into 1978, but was giving up many more home runs than he did before.
During 1979, Ellis was traded three different times again. This time from the Rangers to the Mets, and back to the Pirates where he was reunited with Sanguillen for a third time in his career. Ellis pitched his last game in a Pirates uniform in 1979.
Ellis sadly passed away at 63 years old on March 11th, 2008.