Dock Ellis

doc ellis

Dock Ellis (1945 ā€“ 2008) was a Major League Baseball player who pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates, among other teams. His best season was 1971, when he won 19 games for the World Series champion Pirates and was the starting pitcher for the National League in the All-Star Game. However, he is perhaps best remembered for throwing a no-hitter in 1970 and later stating that he had done it while under the influence of LSD.

Ellis had been visiting friends in Los Angeles under the impression he had the day off and was still high when his friend’s girlfriend told him he had to pitch a game against the Padres that night. Ellis boarded a shuttle flight to the ballpark and threw a no-hitter despite not being able to feel the ball or clearly see the batter or catcher. Ellis said catcher Jerry May wore reflective tape on his fingers which helped Ellis to see his target. Ellis walked eight, struck out six, and was aided by excellent fielding plays by second baseman Bill Mazeroski and center fielder Matty Alou. As Ellis recounted it:

‘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. 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. 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.’

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