“We gonna do the do!”

9 05 2008

“We gonna do the do!”

Dock Ellis and the Wide World of Fastballs, Drugs, Racism, and Wins


Dock Ellis

Pittsburgh Pirates Pitcher 1968-1979


World Series Champion


19-game winner


Dock woke up late on June 12, 1970.  He was in California and as far as he knew, the team had an off day.  He was with a lady friend.  Three hits of LSD were in the refrigerator.   Around noon, he and his friend dropped acid.  Dock put on a record while his friend read the paper… 


“Dock, it says here that you’re pitching today!” – said his friend


“Whaaaaaa…?” said Dock


Pitched a No Hitter High on LSD


May 1, 1974 – ‘We gonna get down. We gonna do the do!” – announced Dock Ellis to his team prior to a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Big Red Machine. Feeling that his teammates were getting soft and bullied by the Reds, Ellis opened the game by drilling a baseball at all-time hit leader (4,256), 17-time All Star, Pete Rose, square in the ribs.  He then proceeded to hit the next batter, Hall of Fame second baseman, Joe Morgan, in the side.  Then he plunked 22-year old Dan Driessen in the back to load the bases. Tony Perez, the cleanup hitter, ducked and dodged pitches well enough to draw a walk.

Then Dock aimed his next 2 pitches at legendary catcher Johnny Bench’s head. “I tried to deck him twice,” Ellis recalled. “I threw at his jaw, and he moved. I threw at the back of his head, and he moved.”  Ellis was removed by his manager after his 2nd pitch to Bench.


After losing three straight division titles from 1970 to 1972, some say Dock Ellis saved the ’74 season for the Pirates. His team won a division title in 1974, while the ‘NL team of the decade’, the Reds, failed to win their division for the first time in the 70s.


Footnote: In the 1974 World Series, the Oakland A’s beat the LA Dodgers in 5 games. It was the 1st ever All California World Series. 



In 1973, after his many hairstyles were profiled by Ebony Magazine (August 1973 – Special Issue: The Black Middle Class) – Dock Ellis wore curlers during warm ups.  He was told by commissioner Bowie Kuhn to stop wearing the hair curlers in pregame warmup.  “They didn’t put out any orders about Joe Pepitone when he wore a hairpiece down to his shoulders.”