Pittsburgh Pirates: Five Best Starting Pitchers Since 1940
By Noah Wright
Number Four – Dock Ellis
Dock Ellis was a character to say the least during his tenure in Pittsburgh. But he was also an outstanding pitcher when he was in a Pirate uniform. Throughout his career, Ellis threw1430.1 innings in a Pittsburgh Pirates uniform. Most of those innings came from 1968 to 1975, but he returned to the Pirates as a 34-year-old to end his career in Pittsburgh.
Overall, Ellis had a 3.16 ERA, 3.01 FIP, and 1.25 WHIP with the Bucs. He owns the 5th lowest ERA- in Pirate history at 90, and also one of four Pirates pitchers to have a FIP- under 90 at 88. Although he didn’t really excel at anything in particular, he posted overall good numbers with a 7.3 walk rate, 15% strikeout rate, and 0.5 HR/9 rate.
We can’t talk about Dock Ellis without bringing up his LSD no hitter. On the fateful day of June 12th, 1970, right handed pitcher Dock took the mound for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The only problem, he was “as high as a Georgia pine” in Dock’s words. But that didn’t stop him from throwing 9 innings, no hits, six strikeouts, and eight walks.
Ellis also made history in 1971 when he started the All-Star Game for the National League. Why was this significant? Because standing opposite him that night was Oakland lefty Vida Blue. That made the 1971 Mid-Summer Classic the only one to see two African American starting pitchers.