September 6, 2010

"You may be amazed at the lack of finger-wagging or reminders that acid was illegal and perhaps bad for you."

The Nation is surprised that the NYT had nothing but fun with the old story of Dock Ellis pitching a no-hitter while tripping on LSD.
If it seems almost routine to throw a no-hitter now, then consider one that was not.

Forty years ago, Dock Ellis of the Pittsburgh Pirates raised the degree of difficulty to new, well, heights. He threw a no-hitter with Richard M. Nixon calling balls and strikes and Jimi Hendrix, wielding a Fender Stratocaster instead of a Louisville Slugger, digging in at home plate.

Or at least that is what he thought while pitching under the influence of LSD.
Who knows what really happened, but it's Ellis's own voice that's the soundtrack of this animation by James Blagden:

And here's the Robin Williams interpretation:


Anonymous said...

Sounds like fun! You've sold me, Althouse. Next time I get the opportunity I'm gonna try it.

jamboree said...

Never heard of this story. I always wanted to go paragliding on acid - well not now, now the idea rather frightens me, but I did want to go in my 20s.

I can't skateboard anymore either. This loss of fearlessness, or love for the edge at the very least, sucks.

I guess I'll stay home and read about stewardship on mutual funds or something. God.

Lem said...

That part of catching the ball tagging first all in one motion and saying "Uhh I just made a touchdown" got me rolling on the floor.

That was funny.

bagoh20 said...

Sounds like a damned fun afternoon. Maybe stupidity is what we really miss about being young. It's like a game that you gradually outgrow, and then later look back on fondly.

Lem said...


That means Roberto Clemente was in the clubhouse.


Lucien said...

Well, I hope any story about Babe Ruth getting drunk in the '20s mentions that alcohol was then illegal, and maybe bad for you.

Prohibition -- dumb then, dumb now.

Anonymous said...

Dead Julius -- If you ever find any acid, let me know. It's hard to come by these days.

David said...

Doc Ellis was a very good pitcher. He won 136 Major League games, and had a lifetime ERA of 3.46. These days, that's worth $8-12 million a year.

He was an alcoholic, who died at age 63 of liver disease. After baseball, he moved to Victorville, California, one of the driest cities in the United States. Unfortunately for Doc, it was dry only in the rainfall sense, with about 6 inches of rain a year.

Doc apparently became a drug counsellor after retiring, which was right up his alley.

His best trick, other than winning all those games, was setting out one day to hit everyone in the Cincinnati Reds lineup with a pitch. Apparently in the first inning. He started the game and hit the first three batters, including Pete Rose and Joe Morgan. Tony Perez barely entered the batters box and drew a walk. After he had missed Johnny Bench with two pitches at his head, manager Danny Murtaugh took Doc out of the game.

Doc was a man of the 60's, a mellow hothead, a druggie and a take no prisoners free spirit. He had a big head of curly afro hair, a hat that never fit, a killer smile and a big mouth. He was popular with the fans, most of them, and I hope he is in heaven somewhere.

Amexpat said...

Great animated video. I think the Doc Ellis story would make a good film. I nominate the Coen brothers.

Seems like LSD can be a performance enhancer in a high pressure situation for some people. Weren't there traces of LSD found in the Mumbai terrorists?

Michael Haz said...

I was a volunteer peer drug counselor while an undergrad at the University of Wisconsin 1969-1971.

It's nonsense to romanticize the use of LSD. It produced terrible and terrifying trips for many who used it. Paranoia and psychoses were not uncommon reactions, as well as profound fear, and a sense of one's life ending.

Robin Williams may well milk it for a comedy routine (while keeping mum about his own inpatient treatment for drug addiction), but that's comedy; it's not the reality of sitting up all night with a freaked-out, suicidal, delusional 19 year old who thought it'd be cool to drop acid.

Trooper York said...

The Yankees traded for Doc Ellis in the Willie Randoplh trade with the Pirates. They traded a hurler with the same nickname "Doc Medich."

Of course Doc Medich had that nickname because he attended medical school during the off season.

Doc Medich was a terrible player for the Pirates. One day he was getting shelled on the mound and the owner turned to his GM and screamed "Doc Ellis is even a better Doctor than this asshole!"

The GM did not last out the season.

The Crack Emcee said...

One of my best friends, Donnell Alexander, recorded the audio for this outstanding short. If you look on the right side of my blog, you'll find I've been the inspiration for a lot of his work. He even wrote a book ("Ghetto Celebrity") I'm featured in - as the only person he knows whose integrity can't be compromised.

The Crack Emcee said...

Also, Donnell was going to do a piece for The Nation about me deciding to raise my nephew in San Francisco - so he'd have a chance to escape the "gangsta" lifestyle of South Central, Los Angeles - but Katrina vanden Heuvel nixed it after one phone call with me:

That's when I started to sense I was probably a conservative.



Trooper York said...

Hey looks like Avram
Miriam mixed you up with Jimi Hendrix.


The Crack Emcee said...

Yea - excuse me, while I kiss this guy.

Trooper York said...

Dude I think he line is "Kiss the sky."

Trooper York said...

But that would clear up your troubles with women.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.