It’s one of the more outlandish stories told in Major League Baseball lore, that’s for sure.
Forty-five years ago to the day, on Friday, June 12, 1970, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher, Dock Ellis, threw a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres in the first game of a doubleheader at San Diego Stadium. The feat in and of itself is quite spectacular to any fan of baseball, or even sports for that matter…but it’s the fact that Ellis pulled off the pitching rarity (it’s only happened 288 times to date since 1875) while high as a fucking kite on LSD that makes it even more remarkable.
Ellis, who passed away in 2008, was well-documented as being a renegade in the MLB ranks during his day. So it was no surprise to his teammates that he took a ton of acid during a west coast road trip, lost track of what day it was, and only came to the realization that he was scheduled to start against the Padres after a friend’s girlfriend showed him the local newspaper’s sports page the Friday morning of his acid trip. At one point, Dock Ellis was quoted saying he sincerely thought Richard Nixon was the home plate umpire, and that he believed he was pitching to Jimi Hendrix. That’s an acid trip if I’ve ever heard of one.
Using hilarious excerpts of interviews with Ellis, animator James Blagden created this great re-imagining of how Ellis’ day on the hill (on LSD) went down.
Now that’s some important baseball history, folks.
A film titled No No, A Dockumentary offers an even better glimpse into Ellis’ absurd personality, which was immensely driven by the contentious world around him throughout the 1970’s while he was a star hurler in the MLB. The trailer for the documentary is a must watch.
Damn. I’m just still hung up on the fact that 45 years ago on this date, somebody tripped their balls off on LSD and completed a feat that 99% of the general American population could never begin to accomplish sober.
Helluva job, Dock. RIP.
h/t Mental Floss