Sunday, November 1, 2009

Phillies Baseball, Dock Ellis and LSD

Although the Yankees have been raining on our parade the last few nights, this lifelong Phillies fan is still very excited about the World Series. It is great to have the Phillies back in the Series after winning it all last year.

All Philadelphia sports fans can be described as long suffering and I can testify to that pain. At the tender age of 12 years old in 1964, I was in 6th grade when the Gene Mauch coached team blew a 6 1/2 game lead with 12 games to go and lost NL pennant on the last day of the season. You talk about painful. At the time, I thought my young life was over.

I still can remember listening on my AM radio to the game that began the slump of all slumps. We were playing the Cincinnati Reds when Chico Ruiz stole home in a 1-0 loss. It was the beginning of the end.

Years later after the Phillies had won the World Series 1980, I ran into Mike Schmidt at a golf event. In front of my good friend George Smith, I launched into a long story to Mike about how the '64 collapse had scared my childhood, but he and the 1980 team had made it up to me. Mike looked a little surprised by all this and afterward all F**ty could say to me was: "What the hell was that all about?"

Until I head the song about Dock Ellis on the latest Todd Snider album, I had forgotten about Dock's amazing feat. On June 12, 1970, thinking that he had the night off, Dock Ellis arrived at the ballpark under the influence of LSD. Much to his surprise, he was actually the starting pitcher. He then proceeded to throw a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres.

As Dock later recounted the night, he wrote:

"I can only remember bits and pieces of the game. I was psyched. I had a feeling of euphoria. 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."

Have a listen to this great song by Todd Snider:
America's Favorite Pastime


1 comment:

  1. Great post! I'm a Tigers fan, so I know what it's like to blow a big lead.