Dock Ellis was a Major League pitcher from 1968-1979. He had a solid career for 12 seasons, including an All-Star Game selection in 1971. But his biggest accomplishment was pitching a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres in 1970.
Dock was scheduled to pitch in San Diego in a few days, and asked the manager if he could go home first instead because the Pirates had an off-day. Dock went to the airport, popped some LSD for the flight, and got on the plane. He flew in, and stayed at his friend's girlfriend's house.
Dock said, “The next day, what I thought was the next day, she told me, 'you better get up, you gotta go pitch.' I said...I pitch tomorrow, what the hell are you talking about? Because I got up in the middle of the morning and took some more acid.”
Next, Dock said, “She grabbed the paper, brought me the sports page and showed me (that I was pitching). I said, 'Wow! What happened to yesterday?'” Dock hurried up to get to the stadium as soon as he could.
“This was in the 70s,” Dock said, “...and Dexamyl, that was the drug of choice back then. Was a stimulant. Over 90% of Major Leagues was using Dexamyl. When I got to the game, there was a lady down there in San Diego, used to always have the Bennies for me...which is another stimulant.” He got some pills from her, popped some, and was ready for the game.
“There was times when the ball was hit back at me, I jumped because I thought it was coming fast, but the ball was coming slow,” he said. “One time I covered first base, and I caught the ball and tagged the base all in one motion. I said, 'oh, I just made a touchdown.'”
“It was easier to pitch with the LSD,” he said, “because I was so used to medicating myself. That's the way I was dealing with the fear of failure. The fear of losing, the fear of winning. It was part of the game.”
Finally, it got to the bottom of the ninth, two outs. Dock struck out the final batter, and got the no-hitter. His teammates rushed out to celebrate. But they may have remembered the game better than he did.
Jim Radice, who made a documentary about the no-hitter said Dock always felt shame about the game. “Dock didn’t remember too much of the game. That was one of his major regrets,” he said. “It was the high point of his baseball career, and it’s this black spot on his memory.”
After leaving baseball, he completely changed his drug habits. He entered a rehab program, and went on to become a drug and alcohol counselor in California. He said the key is educating kids about avoiding these substances, because “If you can teach kids A-B-C, you can teach them about drugs and alcohol.”