LSD and the Man Who Broke an All-Star Game Color Barrier

In 1970, Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter ... on acid.   

In the 1971 Midsummer Classic, the Pittsburgh Pirates' Dock Ellis squared off against Vida Blue of the Oakland Athletics. The game was the first time two black pitchers started an All-Star Game. Before the lineups were announced, Ellis publicly chided and pushed National League Manager Sparky Anderson about the start, claiming “they wouldn’t pitch two brothers against each other.” Throughout his career Ellis was a fearless critic of racism in sports, and his work to advance civil rights is widely recognized, perhaps most poignantly in this personal letter from Jackie Robinson.

But while Ellis is renowned for his work breaking down the color barrier, he remains better known for another accomplishment: being the first and only pitcher to throw a no-hitter while high on LSD. In this short film, titled Dock Ellis and the LSD No-No, Ellis, with the help of stunning animation, takes us on a wild trip to the ballpark, explaining inning-by-inning the miraculous feat he pulled off in June of 1970. The collaborative project from No Mas TV and Doubleday and Cartwright combines the imaginative drawings of James Blagden with NPR’s Donnell Alexander and Neille Ilel’s 2008 interview with the All-Star Pitcher.

For more work from Doubleday and Cartwright, check out issue five of their Victory Journal set to premiere tonight. 

Paul Rosenfeld writes and produces for Atlantic Video. His work has also appeared on The Daily Beast and CNN.com.

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