Back in November of 2009, we published a post that featured a video presented by NYC sports and culture website, NO MAS, in collaboration with artist James Blagden. The video was an animated short that chronicled the, now infamous, no hitter pitched by Dock Ellis on June 12, 1970, while the former Pittsburgh Pirate was under the influence of LSD. While the illustrations in the piece were new, the audio that was used was actually a step by step account narrated by Ellis himself–siphoned from an interview conducted by radio producers Donnell Alexander and Neille Ilel back in 2007, the year prior to Dock passing away from cirrhosis of the liver. We didn’t make the video or conduct the interview, but our post still managed to gain a little bit of traction itself. I’d like to attribute that to the fact that we did as we usually try to do and included some additional information and history about the subject, rather than just posting the work of someone else. Ellis, his life, and his legacy encompass a great deal more than this one singular, although miraculous and legendary, incident, but the no hitter has continued to overshadow the man who threw it, while the details of the state under which he accomplished the feat have managed to overshadow the achievement itself. Last month, on June 12th (42 years, to the date, after the fateful no hitter took place) I got an email from the original Ellis interviewer, Donnell Alexander, himself, who wanted to alert me to the fact that there are people out there trying to preserve Dock‘s legacy and present a greater scope of what the man actually accomplished during his 63 years on this planet. The main project, in particular, is an extremely promising documentary that still requires some funding to get completed.
Here’s the current trailer via the Kickstarter campaign page:
For almost a month now, we’ve been hosting a widget for this Kickstarter campaign in the sidebar on the right side of the website. With less than a week left for it to reach full funding–otherwise it will receive nothing, based on Kickstarter policy–and just over half of the financial goal reached, I felt that it was time to drop the other pieces that I’m currently working on to get this post up and officially support the project, while encouraging others to donate or, if you cannot afford to do so, at least repost this or something else alerting others to this Kickstarter campaign and the project’s efforts.
More than just a film about a guy who ate some acid and threw a baseball, this documentary has the potential to encapsulate and present a vital period of time for our national history and culture. It was a time in our history when racial equality was even less equal than it is today. Dock fought for civil rights openly and was consistently vocal, while exuding black pride. He was an important voice for rights on and off the field, as well as for sports in general. He was the type of exciting figure that is all too often absent, but gives professional athletics it’s character. This film also operates as a time capsule about the realities of what the 1970s contributed to us as a culture and reflects the rampant drug use and attitudes that fueled much of that time period. When drug use in baseball has repeatedly become headline news over the last decade, to the point that it’s even escalated to cases taking up time from the supreme court, how can this not be important subject matter to address and, in turn, a vital documentary that needs to be created?
Here’s Hollywood film director (not of this film), Ron Howard, speaking a little about his own views of Dock Ellis…
…and bit about baseball, sports, drug use, and the American culture during the period of the 1970s.
After his work in baseball, Ellis‘ life continued in directions that were, easily, just as important, although, arguably, much less glamorous. His abuse of drugs and alcohol had become major issues for Dock, with his excessive drinking ultimately becoming the catalyst for his liver disease and eventual death. After getting clean, he spent his later years reaching out and counseling others, while saving and enriching the lives of those who were fortunate enough to encounter and spend time with him. He offered his knowledge and lessons freely and honestly, just as he had always done. This is a film about our national culture, sports, drug abuse, redemption, and one man who devoted all of himself to contributing to something greater than himself. Of course, there’s still that whole bit about him throwing sinkers while wacked out of his gourd on speed and psychedelics, so don’t worry.
If you’re able to donate, please do. If you’re able to repost this and/or the original Kickstarter link, please do that. Please help out however possible. There are a ton of shitty Kickstarter campaigns being funded daily and tons of other really solid projects being ridiculously overfunded, as much as 10-fold, but it’s a tragedy to think that tremendous undertakings such as this may just fall by the wayside.
CLICK HERE To Visit The Kickstarter Page
For more on Dock Ellis, check out our original post with the LSD NO NO video HERE.
Also check out this video clip from and the website for an interactive multi-meida iBook that was recently released called Beyond Ellis D.