Former Dodgers Catcher A.J. Ellis Retires To A New Role
Forever and always, when I think of A.J. Ellis; I think of a simple guy puttering along the I-405 freeway in his pick-up truck with his catcher’s gear in the back. Nonetheless, Vin Scully planted that vision in my head with a story he told of Ellis during a 2013 telecast. Ellis was a big league starting catcher, yet he preferred to keep his same beat up truck and drive it around Los Angeles.
Because of this, I always resonated some with Ellis. Now, he’s decided to retire after an 11-year career. He will assume a role as a special assistant to the Padres baseball operations department.
Ellis did things the right way as a professional. He was the Jake Taylor (Major League) of the Dodgers. Besides being Clayton Kershaw’s personal preference, his knowledge of the game will carry him into his next chapter in his baseball life.
Hearing the Padres have hired A.J. Ellis as a special assistant to baseball ops. (Solid hire – always good to have as many AJs around as possible.)
This means that his steady 11-year career, spent mostly with LA, comes to an end. Posted a .340 career OBP and caught 620 games.
— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) February 12, 2019
From the MLB.com article:
He hit .272 across 183 plate appearances in his lone season in a Padres uniform, and wraps up his big league career with a .239 average and .340 on-base percentage across 11 Major League campaigns with the Dodgers, Phillies, Marlins and Padres. Ellis logged a total of 620 games behind the plate.
However, the statistics on the back of his card will tell only some of the story. Stories like this one tell another part of it.
Ellis deserved this post – he was a good Dodger who represented the organization well. A quality guy, his best year had to be in 2012 when he played in 133 games, hitting .270 with 13 home runs and a .373 on-base. Minus the steals, that’s J.T. Realmuto stuff!
We would like to congratulate Ellis on a fine career – and wish him well on his future endeavors. For me, my best Ellis memory isn’t something that happened on the field. It’s that vision I have of him waiting in smoggy traffic on his way to the ballpark. Sitting there patiently for the car in front of him to move, in that pick-up truck he chose to drive.
What’s your favorite Ellis memory? Let us know in the comments!
[button link=”https://dodgersnation.com/dodgers-is-hyun-jin-ryu-the-best-no-3-pitcher-in-mlb/2019/02/11/” type=”big” color=”green”] Is Hyun-Jin Ryu the best no. 3 SP in Baseball?[/button]
Dodgers should have hired AJ
In the 9th inning of Clayton’s no hitter, a ball was popped foul to the backstop. AJ ran fiercely after it but it was in the stands. The announcer, I forget who, said it best “he would run through a brick wall to make that catch” – That was AJ, competitor, teammate, friend all summed up in that moment.
I really wanted the Dodgers to bring him back this year …I honestly felt that he would be great as a Catching Coach & Kershaw’s PERSONAL CATCHER AGAIN!!! Clayton has never been the same since AJ left!!!
My 11 year old loves A.J. the day I had to tell her he was traded was so hard. She cried. Thank you for helping fuel the love of the game in her!
AJ will always be rendered by the Union City little league. He donated equipment and invited all the kids to cincinatti to a game after one of their little boys was hit by a ball and died. A great gift of kindness
I’ll never forget the day that he and Clayton were told that AJ was leaving. They came across the field to see each other. It was a very moving moment. I never forgave the Dodgers for doing that in such a crass public away.
I tried to follow him after he left, but after he left the Phillies I lost track of him. He will always be my favorite baseball player because of the kind of man he was. He was morally strong and a good influence on other players especially Clayton. God bless him and keep him.