Ever since the early 1960‘s, when folks like Ken Kesey began stealing LSD from controlled scientific experiments and leaking/distributing it out to the masses, adolescents and young adults everywhere have made the determination that they could learn more from eating paper than by writing one. Often, previous interests like sports fall to the wayside and are replaced with hiking, dance, and/or a more intent focus on exercising one’s mind. Mental and spiritual “advancement” may overtake the desire to become a creature of physical dominance. For the most part, it has become widely accepted as a “truism” that psychedelic drugs and sports are not to be mixed. Fortunately, those of us who have digested an adequate amount of the blotter and cube have realized that the mass acceptance of a concept doesn’t have much bearing on “reality”. In fact, in the early Seventies, former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher, Dock Phillip Ellis, Jr. disproved the theory that psychoactive drugs and sports should always remain mutually exclusive, once and for all.
In 1971, Ellis gained a championship ring with the Pirates and performed as the starting National League pitcher for the All-Star game but, as is often the case, the MLB pitcher is more well known for his actions of controversy. Among these incidents is a 1976 episode where he intentionally beaned Reggie Jackson in the the face (said to be in retaliation for a homerun that Jackson hit on him during the ’71 All-Star game), his 1974 attempt to bean the entire Cincinnati Reds roster before getting pulled from the game, and a 1972 altercation with a security guard in front of Riverfront Stadium that resulted in him being maced. Arguably, his most infamous feat took place on June, 12 1970, when he pitched a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres, while hopped up on speed and dosed out of his gourd on Acid. In fact, Ellis actually obtained his very first stolen base in the Major Leagues, during this game.
The following statements from Ellis, regarding his no-hitter, was printed in an issue of Lysergic World from 1993
“I can only remember bits and pieces of the game. I was psyched. I had a feeling of euphoria. I was zeroed in on the (catcher’s) glove, but I didn’t hit the glove too much. I remember hitting a couple of batters and the bases were loaded two or three 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. 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. 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.”
As somebody who has unsuccessfully tried to go bowling on LSD, I can only imagine how difficult and bizarre pitching a Major League baseball game can be. Shit, I’ve experienced enough paranoia by just thinking that people were watching me, let alone knowing that thousands of them actually were. But, as I’ve stated in the article Worst Places to be High on Acid in Seattle (Volume 1), previously, “The ‘best’ places to trip out are also often the “worst” and vice-versa“.
Drugs and alcohol played a huge role in Ellis‘ life and he eventually became a drug counselor in his later years. Unfortunately, the former All-Star died last December due to cirrhosis of the liver, related to his own alcoholism. The year before his death, Dock was recorded explaining the LSD no-hitter in detail during a radio interview. Now, NYC‘s “Sport and Culture” web-mag, No Mas has teamed with artist James Blagden to transform Ellis‘ story into an animated video short. This amazing and highly entertaining video was created by using the original audio from the Ellis‘ radio interview and combining it with Blagden‘s original animation. The music heard in the background is taken from Rufus Thomas‘ classic track, “Do the Push and Pull“, also from the year 1970.
The video is posted below, after the following YOUTUBE description provided by No Mas:
“In celebration of the greatest athletic achievement by a man on a psychedelic journey, No Mas and artist James Blagden proudly present the animated tale of Dock Ellis’ legendary LSD no-hitter. In the past few years weve heard all too much about performance enhancing drugs from greenies to tetrahydrogestrinone, and not enough about performance inhibiting drugs. If our evaluation of the records of athletes like Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Marion Jones, and Barry Bonds needs to be revised downwards with an asterisk, we submit that that Dock Ellis record deserves a giant exclamation point. Of the 263 no-hitters ever thrown in the Big Leagues, we can only guess how many were aided by steroids, but we can say without question that only one was ever thrown on acid.
Sadly, the great Dock Ellis died last December at 63. A year before, radio producers Donnell Alexander and Neille Ilel, had recorded an interview with Ellis in which the former Pirate right hander gave a moment by moment account of June 12, 1970, the day he no-hit the San Diego Padres. Alexander and Ilels original four minute piece appeared March 29, 2008 on NPRs Weekend America. When we stumbled across that piece this past June, Blagden and Isenberg were inspired to create a short animated film around the original audio.”