Friday, February 27, 2009

#47 & 48 -- John Ellis & "In Action"

John Ellis

John's pose is neat. It's a little different than what we usually see. However, he doesn't exactly look like he's holding Lou Brock or Freddie Patek on. He looks more like he's displaying the stance when he would have to hold on someone like Mickey Lolich or Wilbur Wood. He's standing more comfortable than stretched out to take the throw and slap on a tag.

I always remember John as a guy who got moved around a lot. He was almost always playing a lot at DH and then he alternated between catcher and first base. He had a couple of good years in the middle of the 70's for the Indians. Still, no matter how well he played for them, he was going to be known as the main guy they got for Graig Nettles. The Yanks built a lot of their late 70's team using the Indians as a farm system. They got Nettles for Ellis (and others) after 1972 and got Chris Chambliss and Dick Tidrow for a declining Fritz Peterson and some assorted stale bullpen arms.

John's career ran into problems when he left Cleveland. If I remember correctly he had some injury problems and had trouble staying on the field. That's too bad because he had a strong bat and was a good option as a part time DH/1B.

One interesting fact I got on John was that his first big league homer was an inside the parker to center in Yankee Stadium (the old one, before the 1974 renovations). There was a lot of area out there, and I think the ball either must have caromed off one of the monuments, fell in the outfield drain that Mickey Mantle tore up his knee on or Angel centerfielder Jay Johnstone fell down. John was not fleet afoot. He had a career record of 6/16 in stolen bases (including going 3/3 in 1980) and hit into a lot of double plays.

John only played 2 home day games against the Twins in 1971 where he would have reached first to be held on by Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew in the "action" card. Based on the stats above, I guess Harmon was holding him on as a courtesy since John had exactly zero stolen bases at that point in his career. One of those games was April 24 where he was 1-1 with 4 walks (Gene Michael was hitting behind John, so I don't think they were pitching around him) and the other was a July 21 Wednesday afternoon getaway game where he singled late off Jim Kaat. I'm going for the July game because he doesn't have sleeves.

1 comment:

  1. Wonder how Topps decided who got an In Action card? John Ellis wouldn't exactly be high on most people's lists.