Dock Ellis’s LSD No-Hitter

by | Jun 12, 2020 | General | 0 comments

Happy 50th anniversary to baseball’s most fascinating no-hitter! On June 12, 1970, Pirates’ right-hander Dock Ellis no-hit the Padres at San Diego Stadium in a 2-0 Pittsburgh win. What is extraordinary about Ellis’s performance is that he did it while high on LSD, also called acid.

Before diving into the details of this seemingly impossible feat, why was Ellis on LSD during his start in the first place? Well, the Pirates had an off-day Thursday before a Friday doubleheader with Ellis slated to pitch the first game at 6:00. Ellis chose to spend the day off by heading up to his friend’s girlfriend’s house in Los Angeles.

Before leaving the airport, Ellis took a hit of acid. After arriving in Tinseltown, Ellis continued taking hits of LSD. Waking up on Friday still thinking it was Thursday, Ellis took another hit of acid. It was not until his friend’s girlfriend showed him the newspaper that Ellis realized he better get back to San Diego.

High as a kite, Ellis made it to the stadium 90 minutes before first pitch. As for the game itself, Ellis was understandably erratic, walking eight batters while hitting another. Ellis recalled jumping out of the way of an apparent line drive. It turns out the ball was not hit hard and or even near him. Ellis also remembered the ball seeming small at some points, and large at others.

But wait, there’s more.

“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,” Ellis recalled.

When Ellis wasn’t having Jimi Hendrix hallucinations, he had trouble making out who the batters were. Ellis could only tell if they were left or right-handed. Pittsburgh’s catcher Jerry May put tape on his fingers so Ellis could see his catcher’s signs. That was definitely helpful, as Ellis claimed he was not able to see May clearly at points during the game.

The guy is pitching a no-hitter, he definitely has butterflies in his belly, right? Wrong. The LSD gave Ellis a feeling of euphoria throughout his dominant day on the mound.

Perhaps what is most astonishing is that Ellis said he could not feel the ball. So much for your pitching coach telling you to focus on your grips.

There have been 303 no-hitters in MLB history, and the fact that Dock Ellis threw one of them while high as a Georgia pine is nothing short of remarkable.

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