Not-So-Freshman Feature: Andrew Ellison
2018 statistics (through March 26th)GamesW-LERAIPHRERBBSOHPB41-13.687.1633461
It is my privilege to introduce the most successful Cornell Big Red pitcher of the 2018 season so far, sophomore transfer Andrew Ellison. Hailing from Warner Robins, Georgia, he takes hometown pride to electric levels with The Charlie Daniels Band’s “The Devil Went Down to Georgie” as his walk up song. Prior to Cornell, Ellison had a successful career leading his high school team to regional championship wins in 2013 and 2014, as well as being recognized as First Team All-Middle Georgia. Before joining Big Red baseball, Ellison attended Georgia Highlands University, and he is excited for the chance to excel at Cornell.
As a member of Cornell’s College of Human Ecology, Ellison describes human ecology as the place where students study things that couldn’t fit into any other college — ranging from fiber design to nutritional science to management to fashion, and boy does Andrew have fashion. With hair he described as better than Jacob deGrom, he has no plans to follow in deGrom or fellow flow bro Andrew Benintendi’s footsteps and get a haircut anytime soon. “Definitely not during the season,” he said.
Andrew Benintendi of the Red Sox and Jacob deGrom of the Mets before and after their haircuts.
Ellison hopes to play baseball as long as possible and then potentially pursue a law degree or consider a career in a baseball front office. “Something surrounding sports for sure.”
In his debut season for Cornell so far, Ellison earned the first win for the Big Red, throwing for 3.2 strong innings and giving up only two hits against Fordham University in Cornell’s 4-3 extra inning win against the Rams. In his four total outings, he’s thrown 7.1 innings, giving up only six hits and striking out six as well. His ERA of 3.68 is tied for best on the team among pitchers who’ve thrown at least two innings this season.
In Georgia, Ellison comes from a strong baseball background. His favorite baseball moment was in Little League when he struck out the best hitter on his town’s rival team in the last inning with two outs and runners on second and third in the divisional championship. It was an awesome moment, especially with his dad as the coach and Ellison earning the W for his team. It was even cooler, he said, because a reporter was doing a piece on the past success of his Little League team (they’d made it to the Little League World Series multiple times, including winning it in 2007) and he cemented his own spot in the town’s history.
Ellison’s journey to Cornell was certainly not that of a typical baseball commit. Due to a torn UCL and Tommy John surgery, Ellison missed his junior year of high school, a vital season for high school baseball players. Cornell baseball coach Dan Pepicelli saw a five second youtube video of Ellison’s throwing motion and saw his potential. Coach Pepicelli and the Cornell baseball staff watched Ellison’s high school playoff run as a senior, and knew he wanted to see Ellison wearing red and white, even though it was too late for him to come his freshman year. After a year at Georgia Highlands, Andrew transferred to Cornell and made his baseball team debut February 23rd.
As a person, the word ‘exciting’ doesn’t do Ellison justice. His favorite cereal is Lucky Charms, his favorite baseball team is his hometown Atlanta Braves, and his best finish in a game of Fortnite is fourth. He loves milk and steaks too much to ever try the TB12 diet, despite his background as a Patriots fan. If he had a 3-2 count on any major leaguer with the chance to strike them out, he’d want to face Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman (who is 0 for 2 in his career batting) and throw a high fastball to get him swinging. His biggest fan is his grandma even though she has some memory loss. “It’s great, though, because whenever she asks about my last outing, I always tell her about the same game and she gets so excited to hear about it.” He also had a few hot takes of his own: Barry Bonds deserves to be in the Hall of Fame — easily the best hitter ever, MJ is the GOAT hands down (not LeBron) and he doesn’t agree with Kyrie Irving that the world is flat (although he also isn’t sure how serious Kyrie actually is about this anyways).
“Pitching for Cornell so far has been awesome, despite the severe temperature differences between the Northeast and Georgia.” He’s already faced players who are almost certain future major leaguers, punching out guys like a .600 hitter in his outing against Texas A&M. The team has a great atmosphere and makes a point of having fun. For the record, Ellison agrees with Bryce Harper’s “Make Baseball Fun Again” campaign. “Baseball is a game of emotion and it makes the game more fun. I love bat flips. Seeing people get angry shows that they care, because it’s a player’s job to be a part of the team and care for the team. Seeing guys go out there and care so much separates baseball from other sports.” Ellison’s role model is Tim Tebow, who not only cares about his newfound sport of baseball, but also does so much for others as a humanitarian, as a religious activist, and by going out of his way to help people with special needs like hosting his Night to Shine proms.
Ellison’s favorite player is Manny Ramirez. He’s a perfect mix of pure talent, personality and exciting plays. “Manny is definitely my favorite. Also, Hanley Ramirez is another guy who just sauces.” As a pitcher only, Ellison is just waiting for his chance to pinch hit a home run and Manny Ramirez bat flip and stare when given the chance. It’s not all fun, games and bicep curls though. On his Cornell player profile on the Cornell Big Red website, his achievements include “Scor[ing] a perfect score on the Georgia state writing test.” According to Andrew, the prompt asked students to write a speech as if they were a potential candidate during the presidential primaries to give on T.V. He actually recalls writing about how his baseball career at Cornell shaped him to be a strong candidate and how his long hair was a testament to the creativity needed for success. He was rewarded for his writing excellence with a pair of Beats headphones and the ability to list it as one of his achievements on his Cornell player profile (no other player on the Cornell active roster received a perfect score on the Georgia state writing test).
Keep an eye on Ellison this season. He has statistically outperformed big name prospect Shohei Ohtani in the months of February and March and can’t wait for more chances to represent the Big Red on the mound.