Dock Ellis and the LSD No-Hitter

By Dirk Hanson 04/21/11

"I was functioning as a baseball player, but I was addicted to drugs and alcohol."

Good or just lucky?
Photo via facemelter

Just in case you haven’t heard it before, we offer the following true story, told by Dock Ellis, former pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, to inmates at the Marantha Correctional Facility in California. “When you get to the big leagues, you start getting big-league dope.... I was functioning as a baseball player, but I was addicted to drugs and alcohol…. “Yeah, I threw a no-hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the San Diego Padres in 1970, under the influence of LSD…. I thought it was an off day, that’s how come I had it in me. I took the LSD at noon. At 1 PM, my girlfriend looked at the newspaper and said, “Doc, you are pitching today!”…. “I can only remember bits and pieces of the game.... 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…. 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 I walked eight batters. It was the high point of my baseball career.” You can say that again.

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Dirk Hanson, MA, is a freelance science writer and the author of The Chemical Carousel: What Science Tells Us About Beating Addiction. He is also the author of The New Alchemists: Silicon Valley and the Microelectronics Revolution. He has worked as a business and science reporter for numerous magazines and trade publications including Wired, Scientific American, The Dana Foundation and more. He currently edits the Addiction Inbox blog. Email: [email protected]

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