Dock Ellis won 138 games in a 12-year big league career, mostly with the Pittsburgh Pirates. But one of those wins stands above all the others, and it contributed an important term in baseball’s lexicon. To understand why, we need to go back to June 12, 1970.
It was the first game of a doubleheader in San Diego. Dock Ellis had taken some LSD in the morning, on the assumption that he wasn’t going to pitch that day. It turned out he was, so he took the mound, somehow, and proceeded to throw a no-hitter. He walked eight batters, hit one, and got two home runs from Willie Stargell as his only run support. A humorous account of the game, in Ellis’ own voice, is well worth a watch.
But the big linguistic breakthrough came during the game, when a rookie named Dave Cash approached Ellis and told him that he had a “no-no” going. And sure enough, even though his mind was all over the place, be managed to complete the first “no-no” in history, at least with that — if you’ll pardon the expression — nomenclature attached to it.
Today, Domino’s Pizza gave away 20,000 free pizzas in response to a no-hitter thrown Sunday by Josh Beckett. The name of the promotion — the “DomiNoNo” — is taken from the exchange between Dave Cash and Dock Ellis back in 1970, when Domino’s Pizza was just getting off the ground. As Beckett’s achievement is being celebrated, we should also take a moment to remember the event that gave rise to the term in the first place. Now, go and enjoy your free pizza!