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June 8, 2008

Psych-Rock? How about Psych-Baseball?

Even though my first 3 real posts have been about records I always intended to blog about all kinds of stuff. Like LSD and baseball.

I am a baseball fan and currently writing an article about Vintage Base Ball teams in Grand Rapids. As part of my "research" I began googling and a search for "baseball controversy" yielded this golden nugget: on June 12, 1970 legendary pitcher Dock Ellis no-hit the San Diego Padres... on acid.

Ellis apparently thought he had the day off but after dropping a few hits he was informed by his girlfriend (who found out from reading the paper) that he had to pitch that night in San Diego. His girlfriend rushed him to the airport in time for the 3:30pm flight out of Pittsburgh, he landed at 4:30pm and arrived on time to pitch the first game of a double header at 6:05.

It wasn't until 1984 that he revealed that he was tripping on that day back in 1970, which was described more fully in an 1987 High Times article. On April 8, 1984 he describes the events of that day to the Los Angeles 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. 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."

This no-hitter was no total fluke, Ellis was a fantastic pitcher and had a great 1970 season. In his 12 year career he was 139 and 119 with a 3.46 ERA.

However, it was not the only moment of insane brilliance from his playing days. After feeling like his 1974 Pirates had lost their ferocity and were too easily intimidated by the Future-Hall-of-Famer-full Cincinnati Reds, he supposedly proclaimed before the game, "We gonna get down. We gonna do the do. I'm gonna hit these motherfuckers." He proceeded to open the game by pegging Pete Rose in the ribs, Joe Morgan in the side and Dan Driessen in the back. Clean-up hitter Tony Perez dodged the assault long enough to claim a walk. Ellis didn't last much longer; two pitches at the head of Johnny Bench and he was yanked from the game.

Posted by matt at June 8, 2008 4:04 AM


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