Was Dock Ellis Really Banned From Wearing Hair Curlers on the Field?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about baseball and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the baseball urban legends featured so far.

BASEBALL URBAN LEGEND: Dock Ellis was banned from wearing hair curlers on the field.

Dock Ellis was a strange star baseball player.

As a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1968-1975, Ellis had a lot of highs, but also a lot of lows.

One of his highs was winning 19 games for the Pirates in 1971, in a season that the Pirates won the World Series and Ellis was the starting pitcher for the National League in the All Star Game.

Another high was in 1970, when Ellis throw a no-hitter against the Padres (Ellis later claimed he was on LSD during the game).

But Ellis had his low points, too, like the 1974 game against the Cincinnati Reds, where Ellis attempted to hit every batter in the Reds lineup (he hit the first three, tried to hit the fourth, Tony Perez, who managed to avoid the pitches and draw a walk, and after the first pitch went past Johnny Bench’s head, Ellis was removed from the game).

Or when he was maced by a Reds security guard in 1972 after failing to give identification and for making “menacing gestures” with his fist (Ellis later pointed out that he was trying to show his World Series ring to show he was a member of the Pirates).

However, perhaps the oddest low point in Ellis’ career was when he was banned from wearing hair curlers on the field!

You see, there was a piece in a magazine about Ellis’ various hair styles, so he began wearing hair curlers on the field and, well, that was not taken very well by the baseball higher-ups, and Commissioner Bowie Kuhn actually specifically forbade Ellis from wearing the curlers on the field.

Ellis was an interesting ballplayer.

He sadly passed away in December 2008 of liver disease.

The legend is…


Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future urban legends columns! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com

One Response to “Was Dock Ellis Really Banned From Wearing Hair Curlers on the Field?”

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