Dock Ellis was a former pitcher who played 12 seasons in the big leagues for five teams, including the Pittsburgh Pirates, with whom he won a World Series in 1971.
But Ellis is best remembered as the pitcher who threw a no-hitter while tripping on acid. This led to this award-winning animated video created by No Mas and artist James Blagden based on an interview with Ellis recalling that fabled game against the San Diego Padres in 1970.
There is a good chance Ellis was high during the game, but there are reasons to doubt the authenticity of the LSD story.
ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” took a long and detailed look at Ellis and the circumstances surrounding the no-hitter in which Ellis walked eight batters and hit another.
While ESPN points to some discrepancies in the story, the biggest issue is Ellis memory.
Because of his frequent use of drugs and alcohol, Ellis once reportedly said he did not remember much of the 1970 season. Yet, it wasn’t until 1984 that he first confirmed to a reporter that he pitched the no-hitter while on acid.
Then, in the 1990s, a former teammate asked Ellis about the no-hitter to which Ellis replied, “Dan, let me tell you something, I hardly remember the game I was so high.”
More bizarrely, it was 38 years after the no-hitter when Ellis was able to recall with great detail the night of the no-hitter during the NPR interview that was the basis of the video above.
At this point though, the no-hitter is the stuff of legend and Ellis is championed by those who promote the use of psychedelic drugs. Whether it is true or not, the story is here to stay.
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