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Dock Ellis And The LSD No Hitter

Friday Night Trading

Dock Ellis and the LSD No-No

In celebration of the greatest athletic achievement by a man on a psychedelic journey, Artist James Blagden proudly presents the animated tale of Dock Ellis' legendary LSD no-hitter. In the past few years we've 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.


Update - New Video

No No: A Dockumentary (about Dock Ellis)



Google Images for Dock Ellis


I was 4 years old when this happened (1970) and my first live game happened to be Cubs vs. Pirates, June 1971 at Wrigley Field with my cool aunt and less cool brother.

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Reader Comments (26)

DB, I remember Doc Ellis on the Pirates when they played against the O's in the 71 series. Seven games and the O's lost 2-1 in Baltimore. Clemente scored the winning run when Boog cut off Frank's throw from right field. My brothers and I were completely crushed as my Grandmother danced around the living room. Her cousin Danny Murtaugh was the Pirates manager. Both teams had real good players. Stargell, Sanguillen, Hebner, Cash, Stennet, Clemente, young Oliver, Blass, Ellis, and the O's had the Robinson brothers, Boog, Buford, Johnson, Grich, Palmer, McNally, Cuellar, Hall, and a center fielder named Blair who pretty much played directly behind second base because he could sure run everything down in center field with an arm like no other. Any way thanks for some respite from the stormy seas with this great story.
Nov 17, 2012 at 12:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterSKINFLINT
DB, I think I still have that baseball card up in my attic. Har.
Nov 17, 2012 at 12:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterSKINFLINT
At the 3:10 mark

"Ooh, I just made a touchdown."
Nov 17, 2012 at 12:25 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Good story, Skin.

To this day, the only ball I've ever caught at a major-league game was in Baltimore, Summer of 1991 (was 25), Veterans Stadium up North By Hopkins, before they built Camden Yard. We were sitting down the 1st base line. Dave Parker, playing for the Brewers at the time, nailed one foul 15 rows below us, then it bounced into our row and right next to me, rolling on the ground beneath a 4 year-old kid. As he was reaching down for the ball I snatched it from between his legs and celebrated. Then this incredibly intense feeling of being a complete asshole overtook my entire body (I'm not kidding, it was like God was introducing Tim Geithner to my colon), so I turned around and handed the kid the ball. His dad bought me a beer, and the O's won. Then we headed home and almost got arrested for climbing an old Baltimore tower, but that's another story, and it made no sense to even tell this one.
Nov 17, 2012 at 12:40 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Fantastic post that reminds of two baseball players, but for entirely different reasons.

The Dock Ellis acid story reminds me of another player from his era, Bill "The Spaceman" Lee. A Red Sox pitcher, Lee "claimed his marijuana use made him impervious to bus fumes while jogging to work at Fenway Park."

Was Lee's drug use detrimental? I guess not. Who else can claim the following at age 65?

"On August 23, 2012, Bill pitched a nine inning complete game for the San Rafael Pacifics in San Rafael, California, beating the Maui Na Koa Ikaika 9-4. Using a homemade bat in the fifth inning he drove in the first run of the game for the Pacifics," which "gave him the record for the oldest pitcher to make a starting appearance, pitch a complete game and also to earn a win in a professional baseball game."


The Cubs-Pirates story reminds me of 2nd baseman Rennie Stennett of Pittsburgh, who in one 9-inning game set the modern day record for hits, with 7. And how did he amass 7 hits over the course of 9 innings, you ask? By playing the Cubs and beating them 22-0, that's how.
Nov 17, 2012 at 12:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterCheyenne
That's some shit on Bill Lee. I remember him. Makes me think of Mark 'The Bird' Fidrych, god rest his crazy ass soul.


Nov 17, 2012 at 1:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterDailyBail
DB, Your are talking about Memorial Stadium located on 33rd, St. My family and I lived about 10 blocks from there and we would walk to the games in the evenings and catch the dollar night specials. Some great memories there until Mom moved us out to the country. Best thing she could have done for us as we were rapidly approaching the middle teen years and basically raising hell. They tore down the old stadium and put some track housing up there and bulit Camden. What a waste. Bucket list for me is to catch Boston in Boston and catch a game in Wrigley. That would be the shit. Cheyenne, I thought Satchel Paige was the oldest to win a game in the majors, but obviously I am wrong.
Nov 17, 2012 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterSKINFLINT
skin, let me know when you come see the sox at Fenway.
Nov 17, 2012 at 10:33 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
I'm gonna try next summer. Catch Amtrak and head to the end of the line and take a taxi that way. I will let you know. Thanks.
Nov 17, 2012 at 10:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterSKINFLINT

Paige became the oldest to PLAY a game in the MAJORS (at age 59) by pitching 3 shutout innings in a 1965 game...


...as opposed to PITCHING a complete game and winning PROFESSIONALLY (albeit in the minors), the distinction Lee achieved just this year.

The Dock Ellis cartoon is just wonderful.
Nov 17, 2012 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterCheyenne
When I was in 7th grade, somebody gave me the book Ball Four by Jim Bouton.

I'll never forget it.



Nov 17, 2012 at 11:55 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
This is good


Ball Four Jim Bouton Sportscenter Segment 1970s
Nov 17, 2012 at 11:56 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail

Yep, you're right of course, it was Memorial Stadium. I went to a lot of games between 90-92. I was working for Alex Brown & Sons, in downtown Baltimore. My first job in investment banking. I did corporate finance and wrote reports on the oil & gas sector, mostly companies that we were bringing public.

I'm guessing few people remember Alex Brown, but they were the biggest investment bank in the US not based in NYC, and their biggest claim to fame was being the lead bank on the Microsoft IPO in 1985 when they were still a tiny and relatively unknown company. Alex Brown eventually merged with Bankers Trust and then were bought by Deutsche Bank. The CEO at the time I worked there was Buzzy Krongard (a descendant of the Alex Brown family) and a few years later he became the executive director of the CIA (the #3 position).

Nov 17, 2012 at 12:07 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Krongard's name was brought up in conjunction with investigations into suspected 9/11-related insider trading because of timely Wall Street trades made through the investment bank he used to head, Alex. Brown.

The 9/11 Commission Report stated:

"A single U.S.-based institutional investor with no conceivable ties to al Qaeda purchased 95 percent of the UAL puts on September 6 (2001) as part of a strategy that also included buying 115,000 shares of American on September 10.


So he bought a ton of puts but then hedged that position by going long a big chunk of American Airlines common stock -- that's not a strategy you would use if you knew an attack was coming. But still it is curious.
Nov 17, 2012 at 12:13 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Yea I remember Alex Brown. They had an office out by the Owings Mills Mall, which by the way is set to be demolished for box stores. I wonder what they will do with all that imported pink marble. Anyway, Camden is a nice park, but Memorial was really just a fine stadium for football and baseball. Sorry for the digression on baseball stuff, but I prefer it to football and somtimes gotta escape.
Nov 17, 2012 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterSKINFLINT
I'm glad you reposted this DB because I've been thinking recently about the dumbest statistic in all of baseball, OPS, which is the sum of on-base percentage (OBP) and slugging percentage (SLG). (OPS = Obp Plus Slugging) Here are the 8 players with career OPS greater than 1 (the first 4 of whom batted lefty, btw):

Babe Ruth 1.1636
Ted Williams 1.1155
Lou Gehrig 1.0798
Barry Bonds 1.0512
Jimmie Foxx 1.0376
Albert Pujols 1.0220
Hank Greenberg 1.0169
Rogers Hornsby 1.0103

Aside from serviing as a way to rank batters, the OPS stat is meainingless. This wastes the informational utility of its constituent stats, which tell us (1) the probability that the batter gets on base (OBP), and (2) the expected number of bases this batter will get in an at-bat (SLG). The blended stat OPS, by contrast, tells us next to nothing.

Now, if you MULTIPLY OBP by SLG (rather than adding them), you'd have a very close approximation of runs that the batter will individually create in an at-bat. Here is the above list of batters in order of OTS (OBP Times SLG):

Babe Ruth 0.3269
Ted Williams 0.3053
Lou Gehrig 0.2829
Barry Bonds 0.2696
Jimmie Foxx 0.2610
Albert Pujols 0.2519
Rogers Hornsby 0.2500
Hank Greenberg 0.2492

I just had to get that off my chest.
Dec 15, 2012 at 1:19 PM | Registered CommenterCheyenne
Cheyenne. You are a Chicago guy right? You a Cubs or White Sox fan?
Dec 15, 2012 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterSKINFLINT
It's a long story, but I was a Cub fan until they stabbed me in the heart when they didn't show up for the 2008 playoffs n Wrigley. I was there and can tell you that the players didn't even show up for the series against the Dodgers. Mentally, they were playing golf in Arizona and committed their 4th error in game 2 right in front of me--I was sitting a few rows behind 3rd base when Ramirez lazily booted a grounder.

I absoultely erupted and had to be escorted out by security.

While it wasn't the last time I went to a game there, it was the last time I paid for a ticket.

It was just as well. It freed me up to follow the best game in town: the Wall Street Kleptocrats vs. the Main Street Victims.
Dec 15, 2012 at 3:08 PM | Registered CommenterCheyenne
The Cubs have certainly had a storied past. Loved the late sixty early seventy guys. WIlliams, Santo, Banks. Some great players to be sure. I know a bunch of people did not like Richie Allen back then, but I did. He just pretty much played when he felt like it. Crazy power dude. The O's were pretty much the same way after Weaver left. I would watch them pretty devoutly until the all star break. Just miserable to watch guys boot grounders, miss the cut off guy, not hustle up the line. I am lucky that we have some minor league teams around where the guys play like they got something to prove and pretty family friendly. Nine bucks a ticket and I have seen some of the guys in the majors on the farm. Anyway thanks. Have a DVD ordered up and look forward to watching it.
Dec 15, 2012 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterSKINFLINT

Thanks for that update. Will add it to the story.
Dec 17, 2012 at 10:44 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
"I absolutely erupted and had to be escorted out by security."

Good story. And solid stats work above. When I was a kid I used to play this strange baseball statistic game for hours based on bill james book. I can't remember what it was called.

Dec 17, 2012 at 10:52 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Sorry, can't help myself. Machado is a beast. Be a shame to move him to short. Great shortstops are fun to watch. But great third basemen almost always play on instinct, which is something you can't teach. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeQAuAtFnoE
May 8, 2013 at 9:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterSKINFLINT

Great clip. Loved watching that.
May 8, 2013 at 12:44 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
This guy is the shit. Seriously, he makes these plays l the time and makes it look easy.http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dAeqrDh-nuA
Jul 18, 2013 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterSKINFLINT

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