Dock Ellis was an All-Star pitcher for the powerhouse Pittsburgh Pirates teams of the early 1970s, but he’s best known for a rather dubious athletic feat. On June 12, 1970, he pitched a no-hitter, one of only 286 in the history of the game. But most likely, his gem was the only one recorded while under the influence of LSD.
Ellis’s athletic accomplishments, his civil-rights activism, and post-baseball career—when he sobered up and counseled other addicts—are part of a new documentary that opens in theaters today, No-No: A Documentary. But there’s no getting around the LSD no-hitter. Ellis loved to tell the tale of his hallucinatory no-no, and after he died in 2008, his legend got a boost when Brooklyn-based filmmaker Christopher Isenberg and artist James Blagden posted a YouTube video that became viral hit.
Back in 2006, the two men collaborated on a Frank magazine feature, titled “An Illustrated History of Recreational Drug Use in Sports,” a hall of shame that included the exploits of Lawrence Taylor and Steve Howe. Readers responded particularly to Blagden’s trippy depiction of Ellis (click on above image), and the duo were eager to turn his tale into an animated short. “Of all those stories, his kind of captured the imagination in an exciting way that some of the other, more tragic, stories maybe didn’t,” says Blagden. READ FULL STORY