Now, you guys know I'm no big sports fan--my interest in Major League baseball peaked somewhere around the '89 Bay Bridge Series and has rarely reared its ugly head since--but if I had to pick a "sports hero", it would be, somewhat unsurprisingly, Mr. Dock Phillip Ellis, Jr., heroic pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates (and others) from 1968 to 1979.
This video has about 70 bazillion views, but you need to watch it if you haven't yet, and if you have, you should watch it again:
Indeed, Ellis is best known for his notorious 1970 no-hitter, thrown, as he admitted, under the heavy influence of Lysergic acid diethylamide. But there were other admirable occurences in the man's career as well, which we will get to soon. But first, the acid:
June 12, 1970:
Wikipedia: "Ellis pitched a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres on June 12, 1970. He would admit in 1984 to being under the influence of LSD throughout the course of the game. Ellis had been visiting friends in Los Angeles under the impression he had the day off and was still high when his friend's girlfriend told him he had to pitch a game against the Padres that night. Ellis boarded a shuttle flight to the ballpark and threw a no-hitter despite not being able to feel the ball or clearly see the batter or catcher. Ellis said catcher Jerry May wore reflective tape on his fingers which helped Ellis to see his signals. Ellis walked eight, struck out six, and was aided by excellent fielding plays by second baseman Bill Mazeroski and center fielder Matty Alou. Because the no-hitter was the first game of a double header, Ellis was forced to keep track of the pitch count for the night game."
As Ellis recounted it:
"I can only remember bits and pieces of the game. I was psyched. I had a feeling of euphoria. I was zeroed in on the (catcher's) glove, but I didn't hit the glove too much. 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, sometimes I saw the catcher, sometimes I didn't. Sometimes I tried to stare the hitter down and throw while I was looking at him. I chewed my gum until it turned to powder. I started having a crazy idea in the fourth inning that Richard Nixon was the home plate umpire, 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. They say I had about three to four fielding chances. 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."
But wait, there's more:
May 5, 1972 macing incident in Cincinnati:
Ellis argued with, and was maced by a Riverfront Stadium security guard on May 5, 1972. The guard said Ellis did not identify himself and "made threatening gestures with a closed fist"; Ellis countered that he was showing his World Series ring as evidence of his affiliation with the Pirates.
May 1, 1974 game against Cincinnati:
Ellis attempted to hit every batter in the Cincinnati Reds lineup on May 1, 1974, as retaliation for the macing incident in Cincinnati two years earlier. Ellis hit Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, and Dan Driessen in the top of the first. The clean-up batter Tony Perez avoided Ellis's attempts, instead drawing a walk, and after two pitches aimed at the head of Johnny Bench, Ellis was removed from the game by manager Danny Murtaugh. Ellis's box score for the game reads: 0 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K.
Ellis also once beaned Reggie Jackson in the face in retaliation for a home run Jackson had hit off of him in the 1971 All-Star game. Which is pretty fucking hardcore.
Lastly, has anyone else noted that, if listed in the phone book, Dock's name would appear as "ELLIS, D."?
Dock Ellis died in 2008 of cirrhosis. IllCon salutes him, for the contributions he made to both psychedelic lore and pure fucking BADASSERY. Rest well in higher dimensions, Doctor.