One of the most iconic, possibly apocryphal, drug stories of the 20th century is the tale of Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis throwing a no-hitter while tripping on LSD in 1970. Ellis recounted his story in great detail to NPR shortly before his death, and the audio from that interview was used to create a fantastic short film.
The story goes, Ellis had been partying with friends the day before a big game. Acid, alcohol and marijuana were all involved. Upon waking from a nap, and thinking it was still the same day, Ellis took more acid before a friend informed him he was meant to pitch in a few hours.
Ellis raced to the airport, jumped on a plane, and got to the stadium around four or five hours into the acid trip. His memory of the game is blurry, unsurprisingly, and almost no footage exists from the game to easily verify the incredible story.
“I started having a crazy idea in the fourth inning that Richard Nixon was the home plate umpire,” Ellis recounted in an interview years later. “And once I thought I was pitching a baseball to Jimi Hendrix, who to me was holding a guitar and swinging it over the plate.”
A no-hitter, where a pitcher prevents an opposing team from hitting the ball even once during the course of a game, is a stunningly rare achievement. Since the beginning of Major League Baseball in 1876 only 312 no-hitters have been thrown – and if we believe Ellis’ story, one of those was accomplished while under the influence of LSD.