Trivial Sports Histories: Pitching Perfect Baseball Games on LSD

Trivial Sports Histories: Pitching Perfect Baseball Games on LSD
A depiction of a tripped out no hitter whirlwind Dock Ellis.

Dock Ellis was one of those players --what they call a natural--  that physically possessed everything a Major League Baseball club could ever want in a player.  Between 1968 through 1979 Ellis played for a number of teams including the Mets, Yankees, Rangers, A's and the Pittsburgh Pirates, the club with whom he won the 1971 World Series alongside greats such as Willie Stargell and Roberto Clemente.

In his decade-long career, he had a 138–119 record, clocked a respectable 3.46 ERA, and also registered a healthy 1,136 strikeouts. He was also an All-Star earlier that same season Pittsburgh won it all, and later, in 1976, nearing the end of his career, was awarded the American League's "Comeback Player of the Year" for his solid performance that season.

Ellis also had a lot of personality and verve for life outside baseball, not to mention another interesting set of hobbies.

Early on in high school, Ellis dabbled in drugs, as a lot of young men --past and present-- do in America. Legend has it that one day, when Ellis was caught drinking and smoking marijuana in his Gardena, Ca. high school bathroom, a deal was made. That deal was that the school agreed not to expel Ellis so long as he agreed to play for the school's baseball team. Ellis hadn't played on the school team before that, but after featuring in only in four games within the end of the season Ellis was good enough to make the "all league" squad as a high school senior.

After high school, Ellis went to junior college and continued to play baseball, later getting signed to a minor league role with the Pittsburgh Pirates right after getting arrested for stealing a car. Despite other incidents such as chasing a heckling spectator with a baseball bat, and popping pills as a regular part of play, Ellis improved rapidly enough to secure a starting spot in the Pirates' lineup by 1968.

Above, a young Ellis, who would later pitch (so he thought) to Nixon and Jimi Hendrix, before scoring a touchdown.

One other milestone in Ellis' long and celebrated career was his June 12, 1970 no-hitter against the San Diego Padres. During the stellar 2-0 win, Ellis supposedly almost missed the game's start at 6:05pm. Ellis later revealed some time later that he had pitched the entire game after dropping acid and benzedrine, and for much of the game after the third inning started to hallucinate and allegedly couldn't feel the ball in his hands.

Put in his own words, Ellis later said about the night, "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"

 

 

Above is an excellent recap of the story of Ellis' LSD no hitter --the perfect game to have on LSD-- told by the late pitcher himself. As a bonus you can review the game's box score here.


Andy Frye writes for Fiveonfive Magazine and ESPN.com about everything besides LSD and baseball. 

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