Thursday, June 12, 2008

Happy Dock Ellis Day !!!

We alter our regularly scheduled programming-hey, altering is what we're all about, to honor Dock Ellis today!

Today is the 38th Anniversary of the Acid No-Hitter!

I can't think of a better way to combine my two passions: psychedelic music & baseball, than to honor a man who combined the two in an actual game. I remember Dock from his stellar 1971 season as the best pitcher on the eventual World Series champion Pittsburgh Pirates. Dock won 19 games for them that year and was a fierce competitor, if a little spacey. Anyway, here's the story:

On June 12, 1970, Dock found himself in the Los Angeles home of a childhood friend named Al Rambo. Two days earlier, he'd flown with the Pirates to San Diego for a four-game series with the Padres. He immediately rented a car and drove to L.A. to see Rambo and his girlfriend Mitzi. The next 12 hours were a fog of conversation, screwdrivers, marijuana, and, for Ellis, amphetamines. He went to sleep in the early morning, woke up sometime after noon and immediately took a dose of Purple Haze acid. Ellis would frequently drop acid on off days and weekends; he had a room in his basement christened "The Dungeon," in which he'd lock himself and listen to Jimi Hendrix or Iron Butterfly "for days."

Dock: "I was in Los Angeles, and the team was playing in San Diego , but I didn't know it. I had taken LSD..... I thought it was an off-day, that's how come I had it in me. I took the LSD at noon. At 1pm, his girlfriend and trip partner looked at the paper and said, "Dock, you're pitching today!"

"That's when it was $9.50 to fly to San Diego. She got me to the airport at 3:30. I got there at 4:30, and the game started at 6:05pm. It was a twi-night doubleheader.

I can only remember bits and pieces of the game. I was psyched. I had a feeling of euphoria.

I was zeroed in on the (catcher's) glove, but I didn't hit the glove too much. I remember hitting a couple of batters and the bases were loaded two or three times.

The ball was small sometimes, the ball was large sometimes, sometimes I saw the catcher, sometimes I didn't. Sometimes I tried to stare the hitter down and throw while I was looking at him. I chewed my gum until it turned to powder. They say I had about three to four fielding chances. I remember diving out of the way of a ball I thought was a line drive. I jumped, but the ball wasn't hit hard and never reached me."

The Pirates won the game, 2-0, although Ellis walked eight batters. It was the highpoint in the baseball career of one of the finer pitchers of his time, and arguably,one of the greatest achievements in the history of sports.

So, Happy Dock Ellis Day!!!

We will return tomorrow with a special posting of the "10 Questions" survey you expected today....go out and play some catch.


gomonkeygo said...

Very funny! Reminds me of Jethro and the Beverly Hillbillies. In the later, color episodes, watch his eyes!

kopper said...

Such a great story. I remember first reading about that in an issue of ChinMusic magazine. You familiar with it?

sr-71 said...

As you know, I don't really like baseball, but this story and Dock Ellis have always fascinated me. Thanks very much for sharing your passions!

Scott said...

Imagine how much could be accomplished in this world if everyone dropped acid.

Zenslinger said...

Wow. That is incredible.

Cliff said...

Makes me wanna take up baseball!

Anonymous said...

Why does it feel like I caught that game on my parent's old black & white console television? I can almost remember the announcer talking about how goofy Dock was acting...

Then again, I was likely under the same influence myself...."Purple Haze" was kinda flukey stuff, as I recall.

Jim K.

Anonymous said...

How about that!

that.turtle said...

"...I didn't hit the glove too much." No kidding! Great post Valis.