Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball

Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball❰Epub❯ ❧ Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball Author Donald Hall – One of America's finest poets joins forces with one of baseball's most outrageous pitchers to paint a revealing portrait of our national game Donald Hall's forceful yet elegant prose brings together a One of in the Epub Ü America's finest poets joins forces with one of baseball's most outrageous pitchers to paint a revealing portrait of our national game Donald Hall's forceful yet elegant prose brings together all the elements of Dock Ellis's story into a seamless whole  The two of them the pitcher and the poet give us remarkable insight into the customs and culture of this closed clannish world  Dock's keen vision filtered through Hall's extraordinary voice shows us the hardships and problems of the thinking Dock Ellis PDF/EPUB ² athlete in an unthinking world. Baseball is life Or as Donald Hall describes it Baseball is a country all to itself Hall is a great New Hampshire poet and Red Sox fan In the 1970s he decided to write a book about baseball by being granted time with the Pittsburgh Pirates There he met Dock Ellis and a friendship ensued Most poets make very little money Hall spoke at colleges for money A college will pay him 1000 to speak but the library cannot afford to buy his book This book is about the life of Dock Ellis race relations and behind the scenes of a baseball team Dock pitched his no hitter high on LSD When I spoke to Mr Hall he recommended a documentary to me No No A Dockumentary Here is a link It can be viewed on You Tube As a life long Pittsburgh Pirates fan I enjoyed Hall's book for its picture of one of the most entertaining teams in major league history the free spirited Bucs of the 1970s aka The Family The team won two World Series championships 1971 and 1979 and in many ways embodied the breakthrough of black players into full citizenship in what Hall calls the country of baseball That breakthrough wasn't without its problems and those are exemplified by the career of Dock Ellis the Pirate pitcher who once hit three Cincinnati Reds deliberately to start a game he was pulled after failing to hit Tony Perez with the first three attempts in the next dodgeball game and for throwing a no hitter on LSD Dock spoke his mind pitched well most of the time did terrific community work and managed to co exist with his managers for seven yearsHall best known as a poet spent a lot of time with Dock and clearly has a deep love for baseball But I have to admit to being a bit disappointed with a book I'd known about but hadn't run down until it showed up on kindle Part of the problem is that Hall's rhapsodies on the country of baseball teeter on cliche the image doesn't really hold up over the course of 300 pages Part of its that while Hall is certainly aware of the centrality of race to Dock's story he doesn't do much than acknowledge it Ellis both was and wasn't political at least in the context of Black Power and there's something fascinating to be drawn out of his experience He had it right in most ways but wrong in some crucial ones Unfortunately Hall isn't uite honest about the down side Yes Dock was treated ridiculously by the Pittsburgh press and that was mostly about race But he had a real talent for concocting excuses for poor performance and he was than a little self indulgent in relation to sex and drugs The book was published while many of Dock's teammates were still active so I understand why Hall transforms Dock's LSD trip into vodka and why he doesn't mention the small mountains of cocaine that were part of the major league culture But it leaves the book feeling evasiveIt was also odd that Roberto Clemente the heart and soul of the Pirates when Dock came up receives almost no mention prior to a chapter centered around his death In contrast there are thick portraits of some other Pirates including Willie StargellGlad I read it but it's not a baseball classic On December 11 1975 Pirates' General Manager Joe Brown traded Willie Randolph Ken Brett and Dock Ellis to the Yankees for pitcher Doc Medich; as Brown's father Joe E Brown might have said Well nobody's perfect True Brown's hand was forced somewhat by Ellis' perceived insubordination but that has to rank as just about the worst trade in the history of bad tradesThis book the result of many hours Donald Hall spent interviewing tagging along with drinking with and interacting with Dock Ellis is a truly vital document to anyone trying to wrap their mind around the sports culture of the '70's It's also a brilliant read limning a man's struggle against his inner demons and is in a flat footed tie with Bill Lee's memoir The Wrong Stuff for my favorite baseball book of all time This book tells the story of a baseball player growing up in Los Angeles in the 60's who goes on to make it to the major leagues This does not make it remarkable It is remarkable because it is also the story of a young black man coming of age during the Civil Rights era who makes his living in a sport that clings defiantly to tradition navigating a changing society using his own dignity as a north star and his flamboyant personality as his code of conduct Written in collaboration with decorated poet Donald Hall a lover of baseball and a student of humanity this book comes across as part memoir part sports tale and part societal discourse Ellis is perhaps most well known famously or infamously according to your point of view for being the only pitcher ever to throw a no hitter while on LSD However impressive this feat might be in its own right Ellis was much than that Hall takes us on a journey piloted by himself with Dock as the central character from the high school ball fields of LA through minor league ball and finally into the majors while stopping to chat with the friends and family who knew Dock all along the way I was impressed with the style of this book outright Hall definitely writes like a poet with a wonderful grasp of metaphor and description encased in short vignettes throughout the book They are sometimes brief but never choppy It affords a nice flow to the narrative But he also approached the book like a true journalist; traveling back to LA often with Dock to talk to the family members friends and coaches who would help form who Dock became Then having incredible access to Dock during his playing days hanging out at ballparks in Pittsburgh Dock's major league city or on the road walking onto the often astro turf to chat with Dock and the other players It was obviously a different time Like a true journalist Hall doesn't just cover the games; he's with Dock postgame in his hotel suites; while he visits his old coach in LA; hanging out at his Pittsburgh apartment with his girlfriend while suspended Hall really does his leg work here taking around five years following Dock to get the source material for the book One of the most impressive aspects of the work is that Hall manages to do all this without letting his narrative edge very far into hagiography This is very common in sportswriting of the mid 20th century era but Hall and therefore Ellis who helped edit the final manuscript lets us see warts and all I think this point lets us learn even about who Dock Ellis was; a person who stood up for himself spoke his mind and recognized his mistakes The first edition of the book was published in 1976 which was a few years before Dock was through playing baseball The later edition I read was published around 1986 with additional information on Dock's life after retirement Never one to be confused with a saint Dock had his troubles during and after his career But he also dedicated his life following baseball and some of his time during to counseling youth on the dangers of drugs and crime Dock had the name recognition to get in the door to see them and then the experience street cred and personality to know how to make them listen This story is told mainly against the backdrop of major league baseball in the 1970's a colorful environment on which to construct a narrative We get to witness the partying the women the business environment and also the camaraderie that baseball players functioned within in those days It is a part of what made Dock who he was and how he stayed true to himself no matter what went on around him This is ultimately the most important theme from this book even if the legend of the LSD no no is what got me to open it in the first place I've been on a Donald Hall kick since reading Essays after Eighty I haven't read any of his poetry but re read The Ox Cart Man read his children's book about Babe Ruth and then this Donald Hall presents a sympathetic portrait of Dock Ellis pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1970s Doc Ellis in the Country of Baseball 1976 was incomplete inaccurate and on occasion mendacious So says Donald Hall in an epilogue added to the book in 1988 Although it succeeded rather well in getting behind the scenes and letting the reader see what the life of a major league pitcher is like it did not mention the drug use of its subject Only after the original publication would Ellis admit that he had been using cocaine amphetamines and LSD through most of his careerThe prologue makes one re evaluate all that came before it and makes me marvel at the incredible pressure professional athletes must endure Hall's prose is musical a dead on groove appropriate to the early 'seventies setting Dock Ellis a lightning rod of controversy epitomizes the times when revolution seemed to be in the airA good solid read An essential baseball readI will read just about any book about baseball and I found the late Donald Hall's book on Dock Ellis to be one of the best books about the sport and those who play it This is right up there with Kahn's The Boys of Summer but I enjoyed this Ellis was such a fascinating character and hearing his views on the game and life in and outside of it was as interesting as it gets I highly recommend this one Pretty great to read a living biography of such a colorful guy Posthumous bios have their own strengths but this kind of ride along approach was especially suited to such a vibrant dude Good mostly though it sure dragged on at times Worth it for chapter one alone This is a wonderful and very free book by a wonderful and very free man Written near the end of Dock Ellis' career in 1976 Hall and Ellis riff on the challenges and occasional triumphs of being a free spirit within a tightly maintained baseball culture Dock himself an excellent pitcher largely for the Pittsburgh Pirates was highly controversial in his time and compared to Muhummed Ali for criticizing management talking about race to the media and also for some genuinely outlandish acts like attempting to hit every batter on the Cincinnati Reds He also threw a no hitter while on LSD seriously but this was not revealed until after his retirement The book's '76 edition says he was drunk on screwdrivers but its '89 edition tells the real tale As a baseball fan it was a good read from an excellent writer about the sights and sounds of major league baseball It also told me a bit about an earlier era of baseball when players while rich were not yet completely separated from their fans But it was also informative about the ongoing predicament of American black athletes who want to speak their minds who juggle sometimes conflicting responsibilities expected as athletes to sublimate personality and politics to the interests of the team and the business that runs it but also feeling an obligation as privileged and prominent black people to speak up for the majority of black people who lack such opportunityAnd a note on Halla famous poet Hall's prose is unpredictable and funthe book slides between different events and eras from Ellis' life and freuently takes in Hall's point of view as an intellectual infiltrating baseball culture and as a white man writing a book on an outspoken black athlete The mere fact that Ellis and Hall found each other speaks well for the openness of them both and the book's style reflects the freedom and possibility and breadth of their partnershipAn entertaining book about a fascinating guy

Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball PDF/EPUB å in
  • Paperback
  • 352 pages
  • Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball
  • Donald Hall
  • English
  • 12 November 2015
  • 9780671659882