Doc Ellis R.I.P.

Just got an email from Tim Binnall informing me that Dock Ellis has shed the mortal coil. Below is a piece I wrote about Dock way back when that appeared in Greg Bishop’s The Excluded Middle. -Adam

A Trip To The Mound With Dock Ellis


When  Pittsburgh Pirate pitcher Dock Ellis ingested a hit of LSD on June 12, 1970, little did he know that later that very evening he would accomplish one of the greatest feats in the history of professional sports. Around noon Dock dropped the acid in question, and was just starting to come on to it, when his girlfriend noticed in the newspaper that he was scheduled to pitch that night. Oooopppps!

The game was in San Diego, a twi-night doubleheader, with a scheduled starting time of 6:05 p.m. Dock — who was in sunny LA — had his girlfriend drive him to LAX where he caught a 3:30 flight, arriving in San Diego at 4:30. An hour and half later, when Dock took his place upon the mound — in a situation he’d found himself numerous occasions — he felt like alien visitor to a somewhat familiar planet. He had just begun to peak, and an overwhelming sense of euphoria overtook him. Had the robotic function of throwing a ball not become habit to Dock over the years, he no doubt would have had a hard time functioning in this intense environment of athletic competition. But as he’d practiced these repetitive movements countless times before, Dock simply put his body on auto-pilot, focused his illuminated mind on its target — the catcher’s glove — and let destiny take its cosmic course.

The ball that historic day was a blazing multicolored meteorite fired from Dock’s nimble fingers with tremendous velocity, leaving a spiraling trail of shimmering shards in its passage. The catcher’s mitt was a huge mellifluous magnet sucking the stitched orb telekinetically into its leather padding like a luminous egg returning repeatedly to the womb. The batters -– with their bulbous, blubbery arms -– wallowed futilely, swatting nothing more than the intoxicated air, as they waved with great force their Louisville Sluggers, leaving in their wake slow-motion rainbow-hued trails that hung momentarily in the heavy air before dissipating into gradual nothingness.  The intense green grass rolled in hazy waves and the crowd was a multiple million eyed monster roaring maniacally, as the Pirate pitcher repetitively hurled the magical sphere across home plate, unhittable.

The sun burned that immortal day with brilliant intensity, or so it seemed to Dock, who flipped down his shades to not only dim its blinding rays, but to as well conceal his overly dilated pupils from any curious onlookers. Between innings –- as he sat‚ blazing in the dugout -– Dock closed his eyelids to discover naked dancing mermaids there washed ashore on steamy sands of satin and liquid lace. With shades over eyes he sat serenely silent by himself, swimming through an ocean of ONEness with the Universe, then landing on the sands to embrace the naked mermaids of his musing mind, and fondle their fins. His other teammates -– aware that Dock was on his way to pitching a no-no -– said nary a word to him, which was of course a baseball superstition/tradition; to leave alone a pitcher in the process of hurling a no-hitter, lest they jinx him into giving up a hit and losing the magic, which was just as well with Dock, ’cause he didn’t feel like conversing to anyone anyhow; when he opened his eyes he was too busy watching the molecular fractal patterns fluctuate in the air.

Although one of the more accurate pitchers of his era, Dock’s pitching control this monumental day -– like his view of reality -– was severely skewed. He unintentionally beaned two batters and walked a total of eight. But amazingly Dock remained unscathed, with not one run recorded against he and his powerful Pirates, though the bases were loaded (as was Dock!) several times during the course of the ball game. When all was said and done, Dock recorded a no-hitter. His first and last. Obviously this would’ve never happened had he not fucked up and dropped the acid unaware that a few hours later he would find himself on the mound before thousands, pitching in an altered state of mind.

This has been another memorable moment in stoned sports history.


~ by gorightly on December 21, 2008.

5 Responses to “Doc Ellis R.I.P.”

  1. Sorry to hear this. I have his card with the San DIego LSD game stat framed and matted with blotter paper.

  2. To steal a line from Tim Binnall…’tis a sad day for baseball and acid fans.

  3. will miss you doc,your friend paul newsom

  4. miss you doc,ill always have you on my shoulder pushing me to keep going.thank you.

  5. […] Read a previous post on Dock Ellis-D here. […]

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