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

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.



The World’s Politest Protesters

The Occupy Central demonstrators are courteous. That’s actually what makes them so dangerous.

The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:58 PM The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The Feds Have Declared War on Encryption—and the New Privacy Measures From Apple and Google

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You

It spreads slowly.

These “Dark” Lego Masterpieces Are Delightful and Evocative


Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.


Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Activists Are Trying to Save an Iranian Woman Sentenced to Death for Killing Her Alleged Rapist

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

  News & Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?