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Happy Dock Ellis Day

Jun 12, 2013, 10:34 AM EDT

Dock Ellis

Like Ten Cent Beer Night, this is another anniversary worthy of celebration: 43 years ago today Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter while tripping on acid.

As I’ve said before, I don’t think this is something to mock for mocking’s sake or celebrate for celebration’s sake. Drug jokes are too easy and, at the risk of sounding like a square, athletes really shouldn’t be hurling baseballs at people while under the influence of mind-altering drugs. But I do admire it in “wow, it’s amazing the stuff that happens in this world.” It should never have happened, but it did and oh my God, what else is possible if that is possible? It’s kind of an exciting thought if you let go of your hangups about stuff for a few minutes.

Anyway, while a lot of people like to post that animated video of Ellis talking about his no-hitter, I think Todd Snider’s “American’s Favorite Pastime” is the greatest ode or remembrance of the event that there is, if only for the refrain of “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” Ellis certainly fit that description.

Happy LSD no-hitter day, Dock Ellis. Wherever you are, I hope you’re doing the do.

  1. specialkindofstupid - Jun 12, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    Big deal. Jim Abbott pitched a no-hitter in 1993. He’s the guy who pitched in the majors for almost a decade despite being born with no right hand. And let’s not forget David Wells, who pitched his no-hitter in 1998 moments after eating an entire sheet cake.

    • turdfurgerson68 - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:10 AM

      No disrespect to Jim Abbott whatsoever, but Ellis pitching a game while under the influence of a drug as mind altering as LSD is easily one of the greatest feats in ALL of sports.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jun 12, 2013 at 1:02 PM

        Assuming it really happend. Oh wait – we know it happened. He said it did!

        http://deadspin.com/5819880/the-long-strange-trip-of-the-dock-ellis-lsd-no+hitter-story

      • turdfurgerson68 - Jun 12, 2013 at 3:45 PM

        Why would Ellis, or any player for that matter, make something that random up?

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jun 12, 2013 at 6:51 PM

        Read the article. Mind you, I am not saying for sure he is making it up. I am just saying that there is zero evidence to back up a story he told 14 years after the fact. No teammate, coach or reporter remebers anything unusual at all from that night.

        Why would he make it up? No idea. But why is there a reason to believe it either?

        “He used to [have this expression]: ‘wolf tickets’ — somebody’s always buying and somebody’s always selling. And what he meant by that was that people would put out stories or rumors or whatever, and there were people who believed them and you would just sit back and see what happens. He loved attention.”

      • cheesesteak75 - Jun 12, 2013 at 9:10 PM

        Philly fans just can’t be happy unless they are bitching about something!

      • turdfurgerson68 - Jun 13, 2013 at 12:44 AM

        DelawarePhilliesFan

        “Read the article. Mind you, I am not saying for sure he is making it up. I am just saying that there is zero evidence to back up a story he told 14 years after the fact. No teammate, coach or reporter remebers anything unusual at all from that night.”

        ————————————————————————————————————————-

        I did read the article. Who is A.J. Daulerio?

        If you’re saying “why is there a reason to believe it”, why don’t you just come out and say you think Dock Ellis is a liar?

        You can also cherry pick another section from the article that differs from your assumption:

        “Bob Smizik, who covered the Pirates from 1972-77 for the Pittsburgh Press (which eventually folded, after which Smizik wrote for the Post-Gazette), believes Dock’s version…”I have no doubt that Dock was on acid that day,”…”Yeah, Dock liked to talk a lot but he also did a lot of stuff [booze, drugs] back then that makes me believe it.”

        And why would his teammates notice anything different; surely they knew he was a strange cat who liked his substances.

        ‘wolf tickets’? Sounds like hearsay.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jun 13, 2013 at 7:14 AM

        I am not going to call him a liar, because I don’t know he is. But do I doubt his story? Yes.

        A guy tells a story years later, a guy who was not there writes about it, and everyone takes it as gospel. Two beat reporter who where there say no way is it true, and people ignore them. Bob Smizik was not there that day – he was told the story by Dock and he believed him

        But if you are so vested in it, and so intent on making me recant, I’ll ask you: beyond his claim, why do you believe it?

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jun 13, 2013 at 7:16 AM

        P.S. – “wolf tickets” and his penchant for stories are well documented, even by people who beileve the acid story

      • turdfurgerson68 - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:25 PM

        Seems odd that someone who was a former addict AND outspoken drug counselor would make up a story about how an illicit drug ENHANCED his performance. Seems a bit odd, no?

        As for the beat writers, how would they know what he was on??? From all accounts Ellis was a strange kinda cat AND as a frequent user of drugs and alcohol; why would they suspect anything different on that particular day?

        I’m not trying to make anyone recant anything; believe what you want.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jun 13, 2013 at 9:44 PM

        No am I telling you what to think. And again, i don’t know the truth. It is an inetrestign dicussion though – akin to other baseball stories. Did King Kelly really ever score from 1st without toughing 2nd or 3rd? Did Babe Ruth really call his Home Run in the ’32 World Series?

        I will say to you point of why would an addict come clean, then still make up a story about drugs. And it is a valid point. But then again, he did say in 1999 the the LSD in question came from Timothy Leary, who supposedly approached him and said he wanted to see what LSD wold do on a pro athlete.. Problem was – Timothy Leary was in jail at the time. Did he just get his facts mixed up? Perhaps. Or perhaps it was another colorful stopry froma guy known to tell them. As for teh beat reporters not noticing anythign off that night – again, according to ellis, he was WHACKED that night! And no one noticed anything odd. Because he was always wacky? Its possible, but seems unlikely, unless he always was on Acid.

        Again, I don’t know what happened. But I have doubts, as do many people who knew him well

  2. billobrienschindimple - Jun 12, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    In other great moments of drug induced history I scored a 780 on the math part of the SAT back in 94 while I was drunk and stoned. Needless to say my verbal score was not as good as I crashed hard for the second part of that monstrosity.

  3. gunpowderjones - Jun 12, 2013 at 10:49 AM

    He’s busy not being alive

  4. makeham98 - Jun 12, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    Seeing how he died in 2008 he’s probably achieved total consciousness. Which is nice.

    • heyblueyoustink - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:03 AM

      Becoming one with eternity, Zen.

      “Try to see it once my way
      Everything zen
      Everything zen
      I don’t think so”

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jun 12, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      “So he steps up to the first tee, and pulls out a driver – big hitter, the Llama….”

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jun 12, 2013 at 1:35 PM

        Gunga galunga….gunga gunga lagunga.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Jun 12, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      Death would seem much more likely to bring total unconsciousness, given the complete discontinuation of brain functions. IMHO.

  5. Liam - Jun 12, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    I’d probably pay $100 to own a copy of this game on DVD and $75 to watch it once. It’s tied with Mariano Rivera’s 8 IP 11 K 2 H start from 1995 against the White Sox for baseball game I’d like to see most before I die.

  6. heyblueyoustink - Jun 12, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    I can say, from much experience many moons ago, that I believe LSD gets a bad rap, and can actually be therapuetic as was originally intended.

    That being said, how did he not break out in the giggles as they game was going on? That’s some rock solid self control.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:47 AM

      You are telling me! Back in the day I couldn’t even go into a gas station and order a pack of smokes while on that shit. I literally couldn’t do anything but giggle until it turned into uncontrollable laughter.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jun 12, 2013 at 1:57 PM

        Usually at about hour four this would happen and would go on for another two hours. I give him mad props for keeping his stuff together.

        Movie theatres were the best though for the first few hours. Got to see “The Matrix” under the influence.

        It was a very good decision, even if we almost got lost trying to exit the theatre.

    • apmn - Jun 12, 2013 at 12:32 PM

      Yeah, that’s the thing with drugs…not everyone reacts the same way to them because everyone’s body and brain are slightly different. That goes for LSD, marijuana, alcohol, anti-depressants, etc…hell, I have weird dreams when I drink soy milk before going to bed.

      • historiophiliac - Jun 12, 2013 at 12:44 PM

        I love that it started at LSD and ended at soy milk.

      • apmn - Jun 12, 2013 at 1:24 PM

        I did two tabs of tofu last Saturday night…what a trip!

      • heyblueyoustink - Jun 12, 2013 at 1:51 PM

        ^ Is shaking his head at his desk right now.

      • apmn - Jun 12, 2013 at 2:00 PM

        I hear that methadone helps with those shakes, heyblue.

  7. Old Gator - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    A great moment in the annals of performance expanding drugs.

  8. aceshigh11 - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    Did he take what Terence McKenna called a “heroic dose” of LSD?

    RIP, Bill Hicks

  9. nolanwiffle - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    The Padres Opening Day roster in 1970:

    Ollie Brown
    Dave Campbell
    Chris Cannizzaro
    Nate Colbert
    Tommy Dean
    Pat Dobson
    Cito Gaston
    Van Kelly
    Jerry Morales

    That team lost 99 games. It’s a god damned miracle they EVER got a hit!

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Jun 12, 2013 at 1:59 PM

      And the 1962 Mets lost 120 games (some during the national anthem), but only Sandy Koufax was able to no-hit them. As any Nolan should know, any no-hitter is an amazing thing.

      • nolanwiffle - Jun 12, 2013 at 3:59 PM

        Point well taken. That being said, the respective lifetime batting averages of the gentlemen listed above are as follows:

        .265
        .213
        .235
        .243
        .180
        .123
        .256
        .221
        .259

        If there was a lineup in 1970 that was going to be no-hit, this was probably the one.

    • mazblast - Jun 13, 2013 at 12:09 AM

      Cito, “Downtown Ollie Brown”, and Morales weren’t bad hitters in the context of the times. Colbert was a power-hitting beast. And yes, that’s ESPN’s Dave Campbell, he of the .213 career BA, which is actually lower than Mario Mendoza’s. Pretty bad lineup overall; make that pathetic overall. Kind of like the Marlins or Astros now, consistently ineffective.

  10. historiophiliac - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    I once dominated in Password when rip-roaringly drunk. It was a parlor game feat for the ages.

    • apmn - Jun 12, 2013 at 2:03 PM

      The worst part about getting rip-roaringly drunk is being fart-rippingly hungover the next day. Man, I hate beer farts.

      • historiophiliac - Jun 12, 2013 at 2:31 PM

        Ahem. Ladies do not beer-fart, but as it happens, on this occasion I was not drinking from the tap. The Hotel Northampton featured a very nice and very potent martini of which I was fond.

        /adjusts her buttons primly

      • apmn - Jun 12, 2013 at 4:25 PM

        Beg your pardon, m’lady.

    • drone501 - Jun 13, 2013 at 12:03 AM

      bowled a 287 while drunk out of my ass in the early 70s won a fifth of old grandad for high score that night. i would never try that again. bowling , that is.

  11. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    How do you not link this video?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:40 AM

      And my second favorite Ellis feat:

      Ellis attempted to hit every batter in the Cincinnati Reds lineup on May 1, 1974, as he was angry that the Pirates were intimidated by the Big Red Machine.[1][28] Ellis admired Pete Rose and was concerned about how he would respond, but Ellis decided to do it regardless.[62] Ellis hit Rose, Joe Morgan, and Dan Driessen in the top of the first inning. Cleanup batter Tony Pérez avoided Ellis’s attempts and drew a walk; the first pitch to Perez was thrown behind him and over his head. Ellis threw two pitches that he aimed at the head of Johnny Bench, at which point Ellis was removed from the game by manager Danny Murtaugh.[1] Ellis’s box score for the game reads as follows: 0 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K.[52] Ellis tied eight other players for the MLB record with the three hit batsmen in the inning.[63]

      • stlouis1baseball - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:52 AM

        Great stuff Church! I love this type of trivia. Thanks for sharing.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 12, 2013 at 12:03 PM

        Well, wikipedia is my middle name ;)

      • louhudson23 - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:40 PM

        I remember this happening,although I can’t say for sure that I saw the game and not some (limited) form of highlights…..this was the game that made Ellis’ reputation as a bit of a wild man…..that and the foam curlers….

  12. junglerat524 - Jun 12, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    One of my favorite stories. Phenomenal feat. The Reds thing was funny too.

  13. Jonny 5 - Jun 12, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    I wouldn’t call it a NO hitter. I hear he was on a few hits in that game.

    Just look at him staring at the catcher trying to will the catchers mitt to stop talking smack to him.

  14. ddusty53 - Jun 12, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    I always preferred Chuck Brodsky’s Doc Ellis song:

    He has a handful of really good baseball songs, the one about Moe Berg is equally good.

  15. donnell1 - Jun 12, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    I’m the guy who sat down with Dock, talked with him for two hours, and then cut the audio (w/ Neille Ilel) into the sub-five minute piece of storytelling so many folks know and love. Thing is, as great as the no-no story is, there is SO much more to Dock than it. I wrote about some of it in in Beyond Ellis D, an enhanced ebook. Check out my multimedia project, if only to hear Dock’s profoundly emotional reading of a letter from Jackie Robinson.
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/beyond-ellis-d/id659656172?ls=1

  16. donnell1 - Jun 12, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    Reblogged this on Alexander / Swift Productions and commented:
    I’m the guy who sat down with Dock, talked with him for two hours, and then cut the audio (w/ Neille Ilel) into the sub-five minute piece of storytelling so many folks know and love. Thing is, as great as the no-no story is, there is SO much more to Dock than it. I wrote about some of it in in Beyond Ellis D, an enhanced ebook. Check out my multimedia project, if only to hear Dock’s profoundly emotional reading of a letter from Jackie Robinson.
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/beyond-ellis-d/id659656172?ls=1

  17. junglerat524 - Jun 12, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    We get it

  18. mazblast - Jun 13, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    The way I’ve heard it for years is that Ellis was in full control of himself and not on drugs when he no-hit the Padres, but on LSD the night that churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged cited above. I was in college the night of the Pirates-Reds game referenced, listening to the game while drinking with some friends (imagine that, a college freshman drinking in the dorm!), and one of my friends asked, “Is he on drugs?”, to which I responded, “Dunno, but with Dock all things are possible.”

  19. pulpephemera + videovampire - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    Thank you for this post. I didn’t even realize that the anniversary just passed.

    I really loved the animated short film on Dock’s special day, which all Ellis fans should check out if they have not already. Also, I recently finished reading the Donald Hall bio. on Ellis.

    In fact, I’ve lately made some Dock-related posts on my blog—if anyone ever wants to visit.

    Be well, y’all!

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