On this beautiful Monday June 12th, let’s take a moment to appreciate and honor the legendary Dock Ellis, who threw a no-hitter while on a whole bunch of LSD.
As the story goes, the Pittsburgh Pirates, who Ellis played for at the time, were going for a weekend series against the San Diego Padres and Ellis, who was from Southern California, went to a friend’s house after arriving in SoCal.
Ellis took acid two or three times and ended up tripping into the next day without knowing. He was so high at the time, a woman who was with him had to show him the newspaper for Dock to realize he had to get to the park,
“I was in Los Angeles, and the team was playing in San Diego, but I didn’t know it. I had taken LSD… I thought it was an off-day, that’s how come I had it in me. I took the LSD at noon. At 1pm, his girlfriend and trip partner looked at the paper and said, ‘Dock, you’re pitching today!'”
Upon arrival, Dock took a bunch of “greenies” or amphetamines, which were said to be taken by about 90% of the league at the time, and Ellis went out on the mound and started dealing.
Ellis claims he was so out of his mind he couldn’t even see the hitters.
“I can only remember bits and pieces of the game. I was psyched. I had a feeling of euphoria. I was zeroed in on the [catcher’s] glove, but I didn’t hit the glove too much. I remember hitting a couple of batters, and the bases were loaded two or three times. The ball was small sometimes, the ball was large sometimes, sometimes I saw the catcher, sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes, I tried to stare the hitter down and throw while I was looking at him.”
It would appear that the combination of massive amounts of LSD and benzedrine will really fuck you up.
“I chewed my gum until it turned to powder. I started having a crazy idea in the fourth inning that Richard Nixon was the home plate umpire, and once I thought I was pitching a baseball to Jimi Hendrix, who to me was holding a guitar and swinging it over the plate. They say I had about three to four fielding chances.”
Dude was jumping out of the way of the ball.
“I remember diving out of the way of a ball I thought was a line drive. I jumped, but the ball wasn’t hit hard and never reached me.”
A glimpse at the box score shows this was an absolutely ridiculous outing. Despite Ellis throwing a no-hitter, he walked eight Padres… basically, dude was throwing the best, wildest stuff ever, while tripping face.
Dock Ellis would go on to win 138 games over an 11-year career, becoming an All-Star and World Series champion with the Pirates in 1971. Despite his talent, Ellis was once regarded as one of the top prospects in baseball, he was known more for his exploits than his pitching.
Ellis, who claims he never pitched a game sober, turned years of drug abuse into a positive, becoming a mentor for young players and drug users in his later years of life.
He told the LA Times of getting sober,
“I just stopped. I went into treatment and I understood treatment… Some [addicts] live. Some of us don’t make it.”
Ellis was also a civil rights advocate, pushing for fair treatment of African-American players. He was so passionate and outspoken about the injustices and ill-treatment of black players that Jackie Robinson himself told him he was too outspoken for the league.
Ellis said of Robinson,
“He knew there were things I wasn’t going to get because I was outspoken. Baseball wasn’t ready for me.”
Dock Ellis passed away in 2008 at age 63.
Shouts out to Dock Ellis, one of the hardest to ever do it.
— evan auerbach (@evboogie) June 12, 2017