Major Leaguer John Ellis: A Lifelong Fighter – Anglers Journal

One day, many years ago, several big-league scouts came to an American Legion baseball game in Middletown, Connecticut, to see a young Stamford, Connecticut, star named Bobby Valentine, who would go on to have a long Major League career as a player and a coach. Another young man was on the opposing team and hadn’t planned on playing that day. John Ellis, not long out of high school, had broken a bone in his hand and was wearing a cast, but he wasn’t about to miss an opportunity to shine.

He cut off his cast, thrust his hand into a bucket of ice water and wound up hitting three home runs, including one that cleared Palmer Field and wound up in the Coginchaug River. The New York Yankees signed Ellis shortly after that game as an undrafted free agent. The feat still has his old friend Ron Milardo shaking his head. “Just one tough, tough guy,” says Milardo, who knew Ellis for 35 years.