The Pirates used to be really, really fun to watch.
Dock Ellis was a pretty special character in the Bucs’ history. Beloved and friendly, and also a product of his time and full of surprises – he quite famously pitched a no-hitter against the Padres under the influence of LSD in 1970, and he tried to bean as many Cincinnati Reds as he could before being pulled from the game. Dock is remembered as an intimidating character on the mound and a friend in the locker room. He was good too, with a lifetime ERA of 3.76. After his heyday with the Pirates, he played for several teams, including the Texas Rangers – he charmed Dallas too.
Dock left the baseball field when I was only two, but I still remember him – not for his pitching, but for his work for the league educating young players about drug and alcohol abuse. Sadly, it was too late for this beat poet of the mound – he died waiting for a liver transplant.
The man who threw out the first pitch at Three Rivers Stadium, and the first pitch of its last game, reached the end of his 9th inning. It was most definitely a win.