Flamboyant righthander Dock Ellis was among the most controversial players on the tempestuous Pirate teams of the early 1970s. An outspoken and political Afro-American, he antagonized the Pittsburgh front office by dressing colorfully and sometimes wearing his hair in curlers in the clubhouse. On June 12, 1970 in San Diego, he threw a no-hitter while under the influence of a hallucinogen, according to his autobiography (with Donald Hall) Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball. And on May 1, 1974, in what he claimed was an attempt to rouse his teammates from lethargy, Ellis tied a major league record by bouncing baseballs off the first three Cincinnati batters he faced.
Ellis was 14-3 at the All-Star Break in 1971, but said he wouldn’t start against the American League‘s Vida Blue in the All-Star Game because baseball would never start “two soul brothers” against each other. Ellis and Blue did start, and Ellis lost, the only loss for the NL between 1963 and 1982. He finished the season with a career-high 19 wins, and added another victory in Game Two of the NLCS against the Giants.
Ellis was traded to the Yankees with Willie Randolph and Ken Brett for Doc Medich after the 1975 season, and in 1976 he won Comeback Player of the Year honors with a 17-8, 3.19 record for the AL champions. He also won Game Three of the LCS against the Royals. In 1977, Ellis was traded to Oakland for Mike Torrez, then was sold to Texas six weeks later, and he finished the season 12-12. He retired after going 4-12 for the Rangers, Mets, and Pirates in 1979.