Does LSD and the use of amphetamines excite you? Do you like baseball and colorful characters? If you answered yes to any of those questions then today’s Throwback Thursday subject Dock Ellis is the man for you.
Ellis is best known for being the guy who threw a no-hitter under the influence of LSD (allegedly), but his list of accomplishments doesn’t end there. He was also one of the first players to chase a heckling fan at a minor league game with a bat and one of the first players to admit he was high every game he ever pitched. Dock once claimed that he took 6-12 amphetamines before each start. The number of pills consumed according to Ellis depended on the strength – whether Dock was talking about the pills or the opposing lineup I’m not sure. Ever the trend setter he begin using cocaine in the late 60’s nearly 10 years before the general public found it at discos or on the Mets team plane. Last but not least he’s also the first person to screw up the nickname Doc by spelling it with a K!
Ellis made the All-Star team in 1971, made two trips to the World Series, winning one with the Pirates, and won AL Comeback player of the year in 1976 while with the New York Yankees. All of these feats pale in comparison to his 1970 no-hitter against the San Diego Padres. The story goes that Ellis went to visit his friend in LA on Thursday and spent the next day dropping tabs and tripping balls. He dropped another tab(s) on Friday afternoon thinking it was still Thursday. He was then reminded by his friend’s girlfriend that it was indeed Friday and that he was scheduled to pitch in a few hours. In what I’m sure was a drug induced state of panic Ellis somehow got to the park an hour and a half before he was scheduled to pitch. The results speak for themselves as he was incredibly wild walking seven batters and hitting one, but also throwing the first drug aided No-No. A feat only matched since by Tim Lincecum…we think. How else could Big Time Timmy Jim have done it?!
According to Ellis’ own account, at times he couldn’t see the plate, catcher, or the batter. He was only able to see the signs thrown by catcher Jerry May due to the reflective tape he wore on his fingers. In addition to his lack of vision due to a head full of acid, Ellis also claims that at times he couldn’t feel the ball, the ball got smaller and larger, that he pitched to Jimi Hendrix (who was taking swings with a guitar, of course!), and the coup de grace, Richard Nixon was the home plate umpire. I’m sure this could explain the high number of walks, Dick Nixon seems like he’d be the type to squeeze the strike zone. No word on whether or not Jimi played the Star Spangled Banner.
Ellis was known as a bit of a story teller and most of the beat writers that covered the game think it’s simply a myth perpetuated by Ellis himself. Either way it’s a great story.
We here at the Dirty Turban raise an eye dropper of the brown stuff to you Dock Ellis. May your use of hallucinogenics, unprofessionalism, and devil may care attitude inspire generations to come!
Contributing Writer: Ralph Lifshitz