Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ellis Pitches No-Hitter While High on LSD

The Legend:  Dock Ellis of the Pittsburgh Pirates, pitched a no-hitter while tripping on LSD.

Status:  True


It happened on June 12, 1970.  Ellis was home in LA, relaxing.  Thinking this was an "off" day for the Pirates, he took some LSD around noon.  About an hour later, his girlfriend saw in the paper that the Pirates had a double-header that night in San Diego and Ellis was the scheduled pitcher.  He caught a flight and was on the field with his team by 6:00 p.m.

In that game against the Padres, Ellis pitched a no-hitter. News accounts described his pitching as wild and out of control. More than a decade later, Ellis revealed that he had taken LSD earlier in the day and was still under the effects of the drug while pitching that night in the game. "Sometimes the ball was big, and sometimes the ball was small," he said.

Dock Ellis may very well have taken LSD before pitching a no-hitter. However, no accounts from that day, from people who were close to him, suggested that he was high. He took the LSD six hours before the game, so most likely the effects of the drug had peaked hours before he took the field. And now we know that steroids aren't the only drugs being used by professional athletes.