Image: The Baseball Reliquary
On June 12, 1970, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis took the mound against the San Diego Padres and threw a no-hitter.
For those of you not hip to baseball, a no-hitter is a relatively rare event; in the days of performance enhancing drugs and pitch counts, even more so.
What most people didn't realize was that on that night in 1970, Dock Ellis was tripping his balls off.
He didn't admit to it publicly until the 1980s. I recall reading the story; it was just a blurb, actually. After that, I never heard too much about it.
Dock Ellis is a somewhat forgotten American character.
I remember being at a game in Three Rivers Stadium, back in the early '70s, and he was sent in to pinch-run. He wasn't wearing a hat and he had curlers on. He was also wearing a Steelers jacket. The ump told him to take it off, so he did. He didn't have anything on underneath. The crowd roared.
About that night in 1970:
"I didn't pay no attention to the score, you know. I'm trying to get the batters out. And I'm throwin' a crazy game. I'm hittin' people, walkin' people, throwin' balls in the dirt. They going everywhere!
"It was easier to pitch with the LSD because I was so used to medicating myself. That's the way I was dealing with the fear of failure, the fear of losing, the fear of winning."
He remembers the experience: