50 Years Ago Today, Pirates Pitcher Dock Ellis Threw a No-Hitter While Tripping on LSD

This is a criminally under-appreciated sports moment, because I had never heard of the Dock Ellis LSD no-hitter until today. Something that only happens a couple times a year and is every pitcher's dream was once casually done by a guy who had no idea where he even was.

New York Post — When he woke late that morning, he tried putting the details together from the night before, but in those days, for Dock Ellis, that wasn’t always easy. He knew the Pirates had landed in San Diego early Wednesday night after playing a noon game at Candlestick. He had permission from his manager, Danny Murtaugh, to drive to L.A., his hometown.

The rest … that was a little blurry. Anyway, he was eager to enjoy a full day off before getting back to the grind. He looked around the house to see if his host had anything … interesting; it was 1970. Of course she did. It was just before noon when he crushed the LSD tab, snorted it, waited for the show to kick in.

“What are you doing?!” his host exclaimed. “You have to pitch tonight!”

“Nah,” Ellis told her. “I don’t pitch till Friday.”

“It is Friday!” she said, opening the newspaper to the sports section and, sure enough, there was his name. Now he was really confused.

“What happened to Thursday?” he asked.

If that's not a 1970 sports story, I don't know what is. When did athletes start taking sports seriously? Because 1970 wasn't all that long ago and you still had guys doing LSD the day of their starts and quarterbacks puffing cigarettes and drinking Frescas at halftime.

Ellis actually had a K/BB ratio of 0.75 in his no-hitter, walking eight batters — and hitting another — while striking out only six. Although I suppose striking out any Major League hitter while high on LSD is quite an accomplishment, let alone not allowing a base hit. We need to discuss this accomplishment more often than just on its anniversary. The LSD no-no should be mentioned alongside Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series as one of the greatest pitching performances ever seen in the game of baseball.

Long may the memory of Dock Ellis and his psychedelic no-hitter live.