50 Years ago Dock Ellis Pitched an Acid-Fueled No-Hitter

He took the mound having dropped a bunch of acid and somehow "blanked" the Friars.

Before I get into this epic story I want to make one thing clear... I'm a diehard San Diego Padres fan and it always seems like the team is in the news for the wrong reason.


For example, that one time Roseanne sang the National Anthem or the time an all-men's chorus was covered up by a prerecorded track of an all-women's chorus.


However, this one really tops 'em all. On June 12, 1970, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis did something that should be completely impossible: He threw a no-hitter while being high as a kite on lysergic acid diethylamide, otherwise known as acid or LSD.

Ellis took the mound having dropped a bunch of acid earlier that day and somehow "blanked" the Friars — walking eight batters and hitting another.


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It was the first and only no-hitter of Ellis' career, and almost certainly the only acid-fueled MLB no-hitter.


Here's how it all went down:


According to Ellis, he went to visit a friend in Los Angeles the day before the game, took some acid, stayed up late into the night drinking and doing drugs, and then lost track of which day it was.


The day he was supposed to pitch, he woke up thinking he was supposed to pitch the next day, so he took another hit of acid at noon. He soon found out two hours later from a friend that he was supposed to be on the mound against the Padres later that day in San Diego.


He then hopped on a plane an hour later and made it to the park about 90 minutes later.

It's amazing that he even managed to get to the game, but how he threw a nine-inning no-hitter is just downright incredible.


A few years ago, the film No No: A Dockumentary shines some more light on the feat. Ellis stated that he wasn't even able to feel the ball in his hands or see his catcher.

"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," Ellis said about his start. "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."

Off the field, Ellis seemed to be ahead of his time.


He was very outspoken on the rights of black players in baseball and frequently attacked the sport for its institutionalized racism. He was also open about his substance abuse and the proliferation of amphetamines in the Major Leagues — he used them before nearly every one of his starts, including the acid no-hitter.

After he left the mound for good, Ellis got sober and started a career as a counselor for drug addicts, focusing on helping prisoners kick their addictions.


He died in 2008 but he's definitely got a legacy that'll live on — not just because of his "acid no-hitter."


By Matthew Sterner

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