Wednesday, March 3, 2010

1976 Topps #371 - Ellie Hendricks

  • Ellie Hendricks was from the Virgin Islands and was signed by the Milwaukee Braves in 1959. He spent the 1959 and 1960 seasons playing for D league teams and then didn't play in 1961. Ellie moved to the St. Louis Cardinals organization in 1962 and played in their system in 1962 and 1963. Hendricks played in the Mexican League in 1964 and then didn't play in organized ball in 1965. He then bounced between AA, AAA, and the Mexican League in 1966 and 1967.

  • The Baltimore Orioles drafed Hendricks in the Rule 5 draft after the 1967 season. Ellie finally got to play in the majors in 1968 at the age of 27. He batted .202 in 79 games. In 1969 Hendricks split time with Andy Etchebarren behind the plate. He batted .244 with 11 HR in 105 games. Ellie batted .250 in the ALCS but was only 1 for 10 in the World Series.

  • Hendricks had a similar year in 1970. He batted .242 with 12 HR and 41 RBI in 106 games. Ellie was 2 for 5 in the ALCS and batted .364 (4 for 11) in the World Series. He was involved in a strange play at the plate in game 1 of the Series. Ty Cline hit a high chopper in front of the plate. Ellie grabbed the ball with his bare hand and attempted to tag out Bernie Carbo, who was trying to score from third. Ellie tagged Carbo with his glove hand while the ball was still in his bare hand. The umpire was shielded from the play and called Carbo out. The Reds argued, but to no avail. Replays later showed that Carbo missed the plate while avoiding the tag.

  • Ellie was a platoon catcher again in 1971. He batted .250 with 9 HR and 42 RBI in 101 games. He was 2 for 4 in the ALCS and batted .263 (5 for 19) in the World Series. Hendricks started the 1972 season with the Orioles (.155 in 33 games) but was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Tommy Davis on August 18. He finished the 1972 season with the Cubs (.116 in 17 games) and then was traded back to the Orioles for Frank Estrada.

  • Hendricks was a third catcher for the Orioles from 1973-1975. In 1973 he batted .178 in 41 games. Ellie batted .208 in 66 games in 1974 and was 1 for 6 in the ALCS. In 1975 Hendricks batted .215 in 85 games.

  • Ellie started the 1976 season with the Orioles and was batting .139 in 28 games when he was traded to the New York Yankees in a huge trade. The Orioles traded Ellie with Doyle Alexander, Jimmy Freeman, Ken Holtzman and Grant Jackson to the Yankees for Rick Dempsey, Tippy Martinez, Rudy May, Scott McGregor and Dave Pagan. Hendricks batted .226 in 26 games for the Yankees to finish the 1976 season and then was 1 for 1 in the ALCS and 0 for 2 in the World Series.

  • Hendricks spent most of the 1977 season playing for New York's AAA Syracuse club. He was 3 for 11 in 10 games for the Yankees and became a free agent after the season.

  • Hendricks became Baltimore's bullpen coach in 1978 and was a player-coach in 1978 and 1979. Ellie batted 21 times (6 for 18 with 3 walks) in 12 games in 1978. He even pitched 2 1/3 innings in a game, allowing a hit and a walk but no runs. In 1979 Hendricks was 0 for 1.

  • After he stopped playing he continued as Baltimore's bullpen coach until the end of the 2005 season. His contract wasn't renewed after '05 in part due to a stroke he suffered in April 2005. It was the longest tenure (28 years) any Oriole coach ever had. Hendricks was going to be reassigned with in the Baltimore Organization for the 2006 season. Ellie died of a heart attack in December 2005 one day before his 65th birthday. He was a very popular Oriole.

  • Here is a SABR biography of Hendricks.

  • Liked to face: Jim Perry (.448 in 25 AB); Marty Pattin (.357 with 4 HR in 28 AB); Jim Slaton (.348 in 23 AB)
  • Hated to face: Bert Blyleven (.000 in 23 AB); Andy Messersmith/Steve Kline (.100 in 20 AB)

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