‘Sometimes I Saw the Catcher, Sometimes I Didn’t’
After Anker linked to it the other day, I started reading this great story by Mark Jacobson about Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson — the Yankee pitchers who literally swapped wives in 1972 — and this paragraph jumped out at me:
Thirty-eight years later, despite holding steady as ESPN.com's "sixth most shocking moment in baseball history," the Peterson-Kekich "Trade" has been largely regarded as a curio of the game's wacky period immediately preceding free agency, a time that included Charlie Finley's mule and Dock Ellis's supposedly pitching a no-hitter while under the influence of LSD.
What caught my eye is the supposedly. That’s a misplaced modifier, the sort of mistake that, a generation ago, never would have slipped past the copy-editing desk at New York Magazine. There’s nothing supposed about Dock Ellis having pitching a no-hitter: it happened on 12 June 1970, with Ellis’s Pirates beating the Padres 2-0.1
What Jacobson meant to write was “Dock Ellis’s pitching a no-hitter supposedly while under the influence of LSD.” But then I got to wondering: is there anything supposed about that, either?
For one thing, Ellis walked eight batters and beaned another — not exactly your typical no-hitter box score. We have to take Ellis’s word for the LSD, but listen to him tell the story and tell me you don’t believe it:
Both Pirate runs came on solo dingers by Willie Stargell. ↩