November 17, 2009
You've been told the bedtime stories, you've read the eyewitness accounts.
Maybe you've even read the Bantam Book.
Now, sign the online petition so everyone can watch video of Pirates right-hander Dock Ellis throwing a no-hitter while, legend has it, he was tripping on psychedelic drugs.
The enterprising fellas at The Slanch Report have started an online petition urging the MLB Network to raid its archives in search of Dock's no-no, which originally came at San Diego on June 12, 1970.
It's an inspired request, wanting to watch Ellis work his, ahem, "magic" against the Friars. That day, he walked eight and hit another guy but still managed to pitch one of the 263 no-no's in major league history — all while "as high as a Georgia Pine," as he put it.
• Was the game even broadcast on TV? It was 1970, not 1990, and the TV contract wasn't as comprehensive in those days. There is hope, in that the Pirates were one of the best teams in the league at the time and the game didn't happen on a Saturday afternoon, when it might have been blacked out because of the national game on NBC.
• Does a copy still exist?/Can one be found? We're video pack rats compared with folks from 35 years ago. They erased Johnny Carson shows routinely in those days, so what's one more baseball game? Even a no-hitter.
• Does Major League Baseball want to "celebrate" a so-called drug-induced event? No matter its historical context or importance to popular baseball culture, what Ellis said he did, it wasn't legal. It wasn't right. An argument can be made that, no matter how entertaining some of us find it, Dock Ellis pitching a no-hitter on acid is embarrassing and shameful. Baseball certainly might feel that way. Not to be a party pooper.
This generation has seen Dock pitch before, but usually it's video of Reggie Jackson famously taking him high and deep in the 1971 All-Star Game, and there's Word Series film of him in '71 and 76. I want to see the no-hitter, but I also wonder if MLB would feel likewise.