Tuesday, September 2, 2014

1978 Topps - Dock Ellis.

Dock Ellis, shown here on card 209 of the 1978 Topps set, was a man on the move in 1977. He started the season with the Yankees before being traded to the A's on April 27th. On June 15th the Rangers purchased his contract from Oakland. Ellis went 10-6 with a 2.90 ERA down the stretch. Texas was hoping for more of the same in 1978.

The 1978 season turned out to be a mixed bag for Dock. He made 22 starts and ended the season with a 9-7 record. In the course of 141.1 innings pitched Ellis compiled a 4.20 ERA and a 1.252 WHIP. The fact that he walked one more batter than he struck out indicated he was having control issues.

On the face of it, 1978 looked bad for Ellis. He had the fewest innings pitched and the highest ERA of any Rangers starter. It didn't start out that way. Up through the end of June he had a 7-3 record and things seemed to be going well. However, he struggled the last half of the season and lost a month due to a groin injury. After coming back in late August he wasn't the pitcher he appeared to be earlier in the season.

If Dock could have stayed healthy and on track through the whole 1978 season his numbers might have looked much better than they ended up being. The Rangers certainly hoped for a healthy Dock Ellis to help bolster the rotation in 1979. If he wanted to stay in Texas for any length of time Ellis needed to stay healthy and address the control issues that cropped up in 1978.


James Crabtree said...

Dock's heavy use of drugs probably didn't help his pitching performance. You can only throw so many no-hitters while on PCP.

Spiff said...

True. A lack of control in his personal life could have led to a lack of control on the mound.