The Baltimore Sun and Orioles flagship station WBAL 1190AM are reporting that Orioles coach and fan favorite Ellie Hendricks suffered a massive heart attack yesterday at a BWI airport area hotel, and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter at a Baltmore Hospital.
Ellie had been a coach, player, consultant, and organizational smiler for almost 37 years. Ellie had been named bullpen coach in 1977 by Hall of Fame Oriole manger Earl Weaver following his retirement from playing.
Ellie played in three straight World Series from 1969 thru 1971, and shared catching duties with Andy Etchebarren during that time.
Best wishes to Ellie's friends, family, and the whole organization, as this gentle man's passing will be one that will be very hard to take for many many Orioles fans and their extended family, including me.
I first met Ellie when I was a sophomore at Towson University in the spring of 1978. At the time, former legendary Oriole third base coach Billy Hunter was the head baseball coach at the university, and Ellie had come to our practice to put on a catching clinic for the four of us that were with the team at the time.
Ellie was nothing but a gentleman, and after the session he took the four of us to the local favorite Pizza Palace on York Road for some pizza and a beer or two. He sat with us, signed autographs for the students that came and went, and told us great "war stories" about the Birds and their exploits. His Weaver stories were hilarious, and we laughed until we cried. I ran into Ellie many times over the years at Memorial Stadium and OPACY, and he always remebered my name and shared a tale or two.
I will miss his smile, and his stories, and his passing makes this holiday season a little sadder for me and, more than likely, most of you.
God Bless you Ellie. You will be missed.