Dock Ellis, 1969 Topps

Name: Dock Ellis
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Position: Ace
Value of card: $6 a tab
Key 1970 stat: One no-hitter pitched on acid
Hey, catcher, you look like the Michelin Man, man: Though Dock Ellis will never receive a vote to be elected to the Hall of Fame, he is a baseball legend. Ellis admitted in 1984 that he pitched his 1970 no-hitter under the influence of acid. Yes, acid. Nine innings. Twenty-seven outs. One tab of acid. The Bust could write something funny about what it's like to pitch in the major leagues while tripping balls, bro, but Ellis said it best.
From Ellis' autobiography: "I can only remember bits and pieces of the game. I was psyched. I had a feeling of euphoria. I was zeroed in on the (catcher's) glove, but I didn't hit the glove too much. I remember hitting a couple of batters and the bases were loaded two or three times. The ball was small sometimes, the ball was large sometimes, sometimes I saw the catcher, sometimes I didn't. Sometimes I tried to stare the hitter down and throw while I was looking at him. I chewed my gum until it turned to powder. I started having a crazy idea in the fourth inning that Richard Nixon was the home plate umpire, and once I thought I was pitching a baseball to Jimi Hendrix, who to me was holding a guitar and swinging it over the plate. They say I had about three to four fielding chances. I remember diving out of the way of a ball I thought was a line drive. I jumped, but the ball wasn't hit hard and never reached me."
Three other reasons Ellis is awesome (all true): (1) He beaned Reggie Jackson in the face because the A's slugger hit a 500-foot home run off him in an All-Star game. (2) He was maced in the face by a Riverfront Stadium security guard during a game in 1972. (3) After stating to the media that he would hit every Reds batter he faced during a 1974 game, he beaned Pete Rose, Joe Morgan and Dan Driessen, the first three Reds hitters in the first inning. He tried to hit cleanup hitter Tony Perez, but Perez dodged each pitch, and drew a walk. Ellis was then pulled by his manager.
The stuff: In the above card, Ellis is not displaying his windup, he's breaking up weed in the Bust trophy so he can roll a joint later.
Check out the trails, man: The card pictured above was manufactured by Topps to reflect what a baseball card would look like to someone on acid.



  1. That is the best thing I've read all day. Awesome. See, you guys are not just entertainers, you're educators.

  2. I would vote for him.


  4. I love the Dock Ellis rookie card. The photographer positioned his subject perfectly for that image: Ellis faces the camera directly with his throwing arm reaching towards the viewer--the pitcher's almighty hand highlighted in a kind of extreme foreground's foreground. The two-dimensional becomes almost three-dimensional. It's really the only card of its kind in its set. However, the Nolan Ryan, Bob Moose, & Barry Moore cards of 1969 Topps come closest to this effect. Clearly, the same photographer worked on these (or different photographers with similar Topps Photography 101 training). . . .

    Do you know of many other vintage cards of pitchers that achieve this distinct look?

    In any case, thank you for sharing.