Forty years ago this week, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis threw one of the most memorable (at least for everyone else) no hitters in MLB history. Actually, for most of the game, the 25 year old Ellis had no idea what was going on.
After a long Wednesday of drinking and dropping acid, Ellis woke up on what he thought was the following morning to take another hit of LSD. The only problem, it wasn’t the next morning.
Turns out he slept completely through Thursday and woke up on Friday, the day of his next scheduled start. Ellis, high enough to make Towlie blush, got to the stadium about 90 minutes before game time and proceeded to throw 9 innings of no hit ball in a 2-0 Pirates win over the Padres.
The game was definitely not perfect, as Ellis walked 8 batters and hit another, but considering the circumstances, I’d say he did pretty well. Here are a few of the highlights according to Ellis:
- He was never aware of the score, the number of outs, or the game situation
- The ball’s size and weight seemed to be constantly changing
- He thought he was throwing the ball down a multi-colored path to the catcher
- Speaking of the catcher, sometimes he saw him, sometimes he didn’t
- He dove out of the way of a softly hit ball that he thought was a liner hit at him
- At times, he thought the game was being umpired by Richard Nixon
- He once thought he was pitching to Jimi Hendrix, who was using a guitar as a bat
And you thought steroids were a big deal. To read more about Ellis’ exploits and Major League life in the 70’s, check out Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging 70’s by Dan Epstein.