Dock Phillip Ellis Jr. pitched the majority of his Major League career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, from 1968-1975. His colorful personality and skilful control of the ball combined to make him one of the most iconic baseball players of the 1970s. He was the starting pitcher for the National League in the 1971 All-Star Game. Later that year he helped take the Pirates to a World Series Championship. His career would later take him to the American League New York Yankees, where he was named the league's Comeback Player of the Year in 1976. He helped the Yankees to an American League Pennant.
In a career full of standout moments, one of the most standout in popular memory was Ellis' June 12, 1970 No-Hitter against the San Diego Padres. Despite a pronounced lack of control of the ball at times, Ellis and the Pirates outfield held the Padres off to win the game 2-0. What makes this feat particularly unique was the claim made by Ellis that he had pitched the game while under the influence of LSD. This revelation came after his retirement. He explained that he had ingested the drug earlier in the day, mistakenly under the impression that it was an off-day for his team. It is unclear how accurate this claim was. Ellis' struggle with substance abuse was well documented. However, some members of the Pittsburgh Press that were present dispute Ellis' recollection that he arrived only 90 minutes before the game. They also report that they did not observe any unusual behavior.
Whether Ellis' account was the truth or another example of his flamboyant personality, the feat was an impressive one. If, as Ellis claims, he thought he was pitching to Jimi Hendrix while Richard Nixon Ump'd, it at least makes for a distinctly 1970's story.
Help the Museum preserve Dock Ellis' no-hitter cap, a tribute to this unique achievement, for generations to come
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