Longtime baseball fans might remember back when Dock Ellis was active in Major League Baseball (MLB). His longest tenure was with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1968-1975 and during his career he was known for making a scene on more than one occasion. As part of the 1971 Champion team, he enjoyed his fair share of success on the field and also his fair share of attention for his unusual antics. Despite this, all of these other accomplishments seem to be overshadowed by the fact that he successfully pitched a no hitter on LSD.
If you are not familiar with Dock Ellis, you will find that he had a very successful career as a MLB pitcher, but he was better known at the time for his often crazy antics. According to teammates, he was often under the influence of drugs and was no stranger to regular partying when he was not playing. Furthermore, there were various incidents he had with fans and with coaches over the years, often losing his temper when he perceived someone had any hint of racism. All around, he was a colorful character, and other players at the time knew it.
Though there might not be a blood test to show it, Dock Ellis came forth and admitted that he was on acid when he pitched his no hitter on June 12, 1970. According to the information he gave the press, Ellis had been on a long bender and did not even realize the Pirates had a game that day, which is why he took LSD around 12:00 PM. Fortunately, his girlfriend realized that he needed to pitch and he rushed to the stadium in time to play for the 6:05 PM start.
According to Dock Ellis, he simply went onto the field and played the game without worrying about his condition. In his words, “I didn’t know if I was facing Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, or Mickey Mantle. I was just out there throwing a baseball and having a great time.”
Clearly, this nonchalant attitude had its advantage, leading some to wonder if maybe that is what led him to victory. After all, in that infamous game he walked eight batters and still was able to strike out 6 others. Despite this, it is hard to imagine anyone pitching a no hitter on LSD.
Of course, maybe the reason he was really able to pitch so successfully on acid is because of his overall tolerance to drugs. With his reputation for partying hard and a history of drug abuse, maybe he wasn’t affected as negatively as you might expect. On the other hand, maybe he was just extremely lucky.
So, what do you think? Is pitching on LSD a way to help yourself throw a no hitter, or was Dock Ellis just extremely lucky?