Field Trip: "Dock Ellis & The LSD No-No"

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Nov. 13 2009 12:23 PM

Field Trip: "Dock Ellis & The LSD No-No"


On June 12, 1970, the Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander

pitched a no-hitter in a

. In an interview 14 years later, Ellis stated that he had dropped acid before the game and was tripping the entire time. The claim might have seemed farfetched coming from another player. But Ellis, who died last year of alcoholism-related liver disease, was one of baseball's fiercest competitors and most dedicated eccentrics, prone to outrages on and off the field. In 1972, he was maced during an altercation with a security guard at Riverfront Stadium, the home of the Cincinnati Reds. Two years later, Ellis was removed from a game against the Reds in the top of the first inning after attempting to hit every batter he faced. The two incidents were apparently unrelated.

Ellis' LSD no-hitter, though, is his most folkloric achievement—a piece of Nixon-era Americana that has been celebrated in

, in the

, in

, and in

. And now, in animated film. "Dock Ellis & the LSD No-No," a new four-and-a-half minute short by the artist

, combines narration by Ellis himself (taken from a

), with Blagden's vivid pen-and-ink-style animation, and funky blaxploitation ambience. As a work of art, it's a delight. (I especially love the scene where Ellis and his teammates stand open-mouthed beneath a rainstorm of "greenies"—green Dexamyl tablets, ballplayers' amphetamine of choice in those days.) As cultural history, it's eye-opening: a reminder to belly-aching baseball declensionists that drugs, recreational and performance-enhancing, have been floating around our national pastime for decades.

Jody Rosen is a Slate contributor.



Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?


Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 20 2014 1:50 PM Why We Shouldn’t Be Too Sure About the Supposed Deal to Return the Abducted Nigerian Schoolgirls
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
Dear Prudence
Oct. 20 2014 3:12 PM Terror Next Door Prudie advises a letter writer whose husband is dangerously, violently obsessed with the neighbors.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 1:10 PM Women Are Still Losing Jobs for Getting Pregnant
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.