If you don’t know about Dock Ellis, you don’t know about baseball.

ESPN, sometimes, still publishes actual, goddamned great journalism. This is one of those times:

It was a Friday. That much is certain. June 12, 1970. Three years after psychedelic Pied Piper Timothy Leary invited America to “Turn on, tune in and drop out.” Four years before Richard Nixon’s resignation marked an inglorious denouement to the counterculture era. The middle of things. A purple haze. The perfect moment for the first and only known no-hitter in major league history pitched under the influence of lysergic acid diethylamide, thrown by the first and only player in major league history to inspire both a biography penned by a future American poet laureate and a seminal article in High Times.

Six hours earlier, Ellis had been in Los Angeles, nursing a hangover, dazed and confused, enjoying what he thought was his day off.

Two hours later, he would be standing on the mound at San Diego Stadium, throwing baseballs he couldn’t always feel, in the general direction of batters he didn’t always see, trying very, very hard not to fall over.

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