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A mainstay of the 1949 team, Kinder arrived in Cleveland one morning so drunk that he had to be rolled through the train station in a wheelchair. That afternoon he pitched brilliantly in relief in both ends of a doubleheader against the Indians. ''Ellis did love a good time,'' his widow said.
New York sportswriter Arthur Richman had been friends with Kinder since 1946 when the pitcher finally reached the majors at age 32 with the Browns.
By 1949, however, [Kinder had] gone to the Red Sox and was one of the club's best hurlers…The pennant race came down to the season's last day at Yankee Stadium with New York and Boston tied in the A.L. standings and Kinder scheduled to pitch against Vic Raschi.
"Ellis was the heaviest drinker I ever met in my life," Richman says. "The more he drank the better he pitched. So the Red Sox players came to me--Vern Stephens and Al Zarilla--and they said, `Take him out and get him as skunk drunk as you can tonight.'
"We were out until five o'clock that morning and I finally brought him back to the Commodore Hotel, which is now the Grand Hyatt, and I took him upstairs. Joe Dobson was fast asleep in the next bed and never even heard us come in. I got Kinder in bed and said, `I'll see you tomorrow.'
"I didn't know how he'd make it the next day. He was only going to get a few hours sleep. When I saw him at Yankee Stadium, he was as sober as a judge and pitched one of the greatest games of his life.
"But the Red Sox lost, 5-3, and of course the Yankees won the A.L. pennant and Kinder was fit to be tied," Richman says.
"Kinder used to take me home with him to Jackson, Tennessee and he'd take me into a place and I'd say, Ellie how can you take a Jew boy into a KKK camp? He said, `It's the only place we can get a drink on a Sunday morning.'"
Kinder, a big Tennessean, phoned Mickey one midnight to announce: "Congratulate me. I just got married."
Mickey asked, "But Ellis, what about Hazel?"
"Gosh," Kinder said, "you mean I'm already married?"
One more Ellis Kinder item, small but a favorite, from the Baseball Library:May 17, 1947: A seagull flies over Fenway Park and pelts St. Louis Browns P Ellis Kinder with a 3-pound smelt, missing him by a gill.