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Dock Ellis Pitches Under Influence of LSD
On June 12, 1970, Dock Ellis of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitched a 2-0 no-hit win over the San Diego Padres in the first game of the doubleheader. It wasn't until April of 1984 that he disclosed to the press that he had pitched that game under the influence of LSD.
For some reason, Ellis thought the Pirates had the day off, but his girlfriend noticed in the newspaper that the Pirates were playing that night and he was to pitch the first game of a doubleheader. Since he was thinking he had the day off, he was relaxing in his home in Los Angeles. So he had to fly to San Diego and got there just in time to make his start at 6:05 PM. In 1970, that flight cost $9.50. Only six hours earlier he had taken some LSD so it was still working in his system.
Ellis walked eight batters and hit one batter in the game. This is one of the quotes he made about that game:
"The ball was small sometimes, it was large sometimes. Sometimes I saw the catcher sometimes I didn't." He also said the catcher Jerry May had reflective tape on his fingers that night so Ellis could see the target better on the occasions when he actually saw the catcher.
On May 1, 1974 he tried to hit every Cincinnati Reds batter in the lineup. He hit Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, and Dan Driessen. He tried to hit Tony Perez, but drew a walk instead. When he aimed two pitches at the head of Johnny Bench, he was removed from the game by his manager Danny Murtaugh.
According to dallasobserver.com, Ellis says at that he would hit Barry Bonds once a game because he uses all that armor. My personal thought is that Bonds looks more like he is going to war back in medieval times than going to bat in a baseball game.
Back to Ellis... He was born in Los Angeles on March 11, 1945 and is now 63. He had a 138-119 record in the majors with a decent ERA of 3.46. In 1971 he was 19-9 with the Pirates and in 1976 he was 17-8 with the New York Yankees. After retiring he became a drug counselor.
Ken Johnson Loses No-Hitter
Ken Johnson of the Houston Astros was the first pitcher in Major League history to pitch a no-hitter and lose the game. It was on April 23, 1964. After eight innings, the game was tied 0-0. In the ninth inning, Pete Rose tried to bunt for a hit with one out but reached second after a throwing error by Johnson. Then Rose advanced to third on a groundout and then Nellie Fox made an error on an easy grounder allowing Rose to score the go ahead run. Joe Nuxhall, who pitched a great game himself that day, kept the Astros from scoring in the ninth as the Reds won the game 1-0. Johnson couldn't blame anyone but himself since he made the two base throwing error that put Rose in scoring position.
One of the most amazing things about that game is that Joe Nuxhall, the opposing pitcher was the first batter in the ninth inning. However, Nuxhall did hit 15 home runs in his career. Johnson was born June 16, 1933 in West Palm Beach, Florida. After retiring, he managed the Louisiana College Wildcats baseball team in Pineville, Louisiana which was four blocks from our house when we were still in Louisiana. Johnson finished his thirteen year career with a 91-106 record.
No-Hit Pitchers Who Flamed Out
Bobo Holloman of the St. Louis Browns is the only pitcher to pitch a no-hitter in his first major league start. He pitched his no-hitter against the Philadelphia Athletics, who lost the game 6-0 on May 6, 1953. Only 2,473 fans witnessed the no-hitter. Holloman drove in three runs and and he had the only two hits of his major league career. He never pitched another complete game and finished the season and his career with a 3-7 record and never played in majors after that season. Incidentally, Clay Buchholz pitched his no-hitter last season in his second start.
Bo Belinsky of the California Angels pitched a no-hitter on May 5, 1962 defeating the Baltimore Orioles 2-0. It was the first no-hitter in Angels history and the first ever pitched at Dodger Stadium. He was only to win 28 games in his career, and was more famous for his womanizing than for getting batters out. He was known to have dated Connie Stevens, Tina Louise (of Gilligan's Island fame), Juliet Prowse, Ann-Margret, and Mamie Van Doren. He married the 1965 Playboy Playmate of the Year, Jo Collins, and they were married from 1970 to 1975.
Belinsky reached rock bottom when he was forced to live under a bridge, but rejuvenated his life to the point that he became a Christian and was active in his church before his death on November 23, 2001.
Bud Smith of the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the San Diego Padres 4-0 when he pitched his no-hitter on September 3, 2001. It was only one of seven major league wins he would post in his career. He had a 6.94 ERA the next season. In 2002, he was part of the trade that sent Scott Rolen to the Cardinals. He is no longer playing baseball.
Joe Cowley of the White Sox pitched a no-hitter against the Angels on September 19, 1986. He finished his career with a 33-25 record. Cowley was the only pitcher in major league history to never win another game after pitching a no-hitter.
Anibal Sanchez of the Florida Marlins pitched a no-hitter against the Diamondbacks on September 6, 2006. He was recently sent to the minors by the Marlins during spring training. He has a 12-4 record. It will be interesting to see if Sanchez makes it back to the major leagues this season. He was one of the Boston Red Sox players sent to the Marlins in the trade that sent Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett to the Red Sox. Sanchez had surgery last season so still may rejoin the Marlins before the season is over.
- Four teams still playing today have never had a no-hit game; the teams are:
- Nolan Ryan leads all pitchers in most no-hitters with an amazing seven no-hitters. Sandy Koufax had four no-hitters.
- 25 pitchers have thrown more than one no-hitter.
- Bob Feller threw the only Opening Day no-hitter.
- Clay Buchholz was the first Red Sox rookie to ever pitch a no-hitter.
Spring Training Notebook
Kelvim Escobar is concerned about a right shoulder injury that could possibly be career ending. Losing Escobar for an extended time period this season after winning 18 games in 2007 could cripple the Angels' rotation. With John Lackey on the DL, the Angels will have to find someone to replace the two pitchers who won 37 games last season combined.
Jose Cruz Jr. is making a strong bid to make the Houston Astros roster this spring. He leads the team in RBIs with 18. Only Jim Thome and Robinson Cano have more RBIs than Cruz with 19 each. C.C. Sabathia (3-0 this spring) defeated the Astros 7-6. It may be only spring training games, but Dontrelle Willis has to be concerned with his 1-3 record and an 8.64 ERA. He has walked 15 while striking out 12, which is never good for a pitcher. Brett Myers (3-0) pitched five shutout innings against the New York Yankees, and allowed only 2 hits in the Philadelphia Phillies 4-0 win over the Yankees. Myers has a tremendous 1.13 ERA this spring. Chien-Ming Wang (2-2) took the loss and left the game with a 8.04 ERA. Phillies pitchers only allowed four singles by the Yankees.
Jesse Litsch, who defeated the Cincinnati Reds 6-3 yesterday, is the only Toronto Blue Jays pitcher with more one win, as his record went to 3-2 this spring. Frank Thomas became the eleventh Blue Jay to have only one home run this spring, and has one home run in 43 at bats. It has to be a concern when Marco Scutaro with 9 and David Eckstein with 8 lead the team in RBIs.
Barry Zito has reached rock bottom losing to the Fresno Grizzlies yesterday. Zito didn't pitch that badly allowing three earned runs in 6 2/3 innings, but still took the loss. The Chicago Cubs overcame a 5-1 deficit after six innings as they scored five times in the top of the seventh and eventually won against the Los Angeles Angels 7-5. Jered Weaver lost his bid to see his record go to 6-0 this spring when shoddy bullpen work by the Angels enabled the Cubs to escape with a win.
The Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Chicago White Sox 12-10 in a game which saw Ben Sheets of the Milwaukee Brewers and Gavin Floyd rocked with Sheets giving up 9 runs and 8 hits in 5 innings and his ERA ballooned to 9.56. Floyd also pitched 5 innings, allowing 6 runs to cross the plate and gave up 9 hits and his ERA rose to 6.55 for the spring. Jim Thome homered twice for the White Sox and Alexei Ramirez also hit a grand slam off of Sheets. Ryan Braun hit his fifth home run of the spring in the game.
Erik Bedard (2-2) defeated the Kansas City Royals 8-5, but it still wasn't a typical Bedard game with a lot of strikeouts. He only struck out two batters in six innings. Seven of the Texas Rangers' starting lineup are hitting .283 or higher with Marlon Byrd the only Ranger struggling at the plate with a .197 average. Josh Hamilton and David Murphy are tied for the team lead in RBIs with 17.
Grandson To Pitch and Catch This Season
Yesterday, my grandson Matthew, who is now my avatar, called me excitedly about the coach telling him he will be a starting pitcher and catcher this season. He will pitch two innings then catch the rest of the game. He said he is catching most of the balls even when the batters swing. He had never caught before but is enjoying playing catcher. He has played shortstop and third base mostly in other seasons so he will get a new perspective on the game pitching and catching.
Anyone that goes to my profile page will see him on a magazine cover they used for photos last season and you will never see a bigger smile than his from a baseball player.