Saturday, December 20, 2008
RIP Dock Ellis
I always get sad when a part of my childhood passes away. Dock Ellis, a baseball pitcher who achieved his greatest fame with the Pittsburgh Pirates died at the relatively young age of 63.
He played in the 70's, the era of free spirits on the baseball diamond. It was the era that introduced astroturf, pull over polyester uniforms and the most colorful bunch of characters to play the game. Dock Ellis was one of those characters. He was the Manny Ramirez of his day. A man who marched to his own drummer who was a darn good pitcher for the better part of the decade. He was one of the big contributors to the 1971 World Series champion Pirates. He was the starting pitcher for the Pirates when the Pirates were the first team in MLB history to field an all Afroiacan American squad.
But that's not waht Dock Ellis is best known for.
No, it even wasn't when he sported hair rollers during batting practice.
Dock Ellis is best known for throwing a no-hitter...
...while high on acid.
You see, Dock Ellis thought he wasn't pitching that day and took advantage of that by dropping LSd at a friend's house in LA. The Pirates were playing San Diego that day in a double header and he was informed by his host that he was the starting pitcher.
Dock had to scramble to get to Jack Murphy Stadium on time to pitch. As he describes it he couldn't feel a thing. He couldn't really see who he was pitching to, but was able to see the signs his catcher gave him because the catcher was wearing shiny tape on his fingers. He was so high he didn't even care that he was breaking a baseball taboo by constantly talking about his no-hitter.
What a character.
Here's a radio clip of him talking about it. It's pretty funny.