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High on Dock Ellis

Dock Ellis 1974 baseball cardThe video below is a brief, four-minute animated excerpt from an original half-hour broadcast of the public radio program “Unfictional.” In the excerpt, Dock Ellis recalls his LSD-influenced 1970 no-hitter. It is hilarious.

I really recommend listening to the original radio broadcast, a very touching and illuminating story of baseball and race in the 1970s. Ellis talks about his career and the controversy generated when he and Vida Blue were named to start the 1971 All-Star Game. It was the first time two blacks would do so.

Seems impossible that this might have been an issue in this country at a time when I was eleven years old. But then again, 1971 was ten years closer to 1947 and Jackie Robinson’s major league debut than it is to today.

Watch and listen to the animated video excerpt:


Now, of course, few would take notice of such a shocking phenomenon as two black pitchers starting in the All-Star Game. Sadly, though, “driving while black” is still treated as a crime in many areas of our country.

Jackie Robinson 1954 baseball cardCheck out the full story The Ballad of Dock Ellis at KCRW’s podcast site. Listen through to the end for a very powerful and emotional surprise. Hint at right.

Ellis sobered up after his career. He then lived in the town where I was born–Apple Valley, California–and spent years working as a drug counselor in Victorville, California and with prisoners in California and Pennsylvania. He died of liver failure at the age of 63 age in 2008.

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