Forty-seven years ago this week, one of the most important moments in baseball history was made when the Pittsburgh Pirates’ pitcher took to the mound and pitched a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres—while tripping on acid.
Reporters at the game, who learned of Ellis’s feat 10 years later, said they couldn’t believe it.
Now the story, Dock, is coming to the big screen with the help of Ice Cube and his son, O’Shea Jackson, Jr. (Straight Outta Compton), who will play Dock Ellis.
David Permut and Jeff Kwatinetz are joining Ice Cube in producing the movie from a script written by Joey Poach, according to Deadline Hollywood.
In addition to being a brilliant pitcher, Dock Ellis was a wildly colorful character, known to be outspoken and competitive and a man who called out racism whenever he or others experienced it.
For example, when he wore curlers in his hair at a workout, the MLB commissioner at the time forbade him from ever doing it again. Although Dock complied, he was quick to point out the hypocrisy, as the MLB allowed a white player to wear a bad shoulder-length toupee.
After his decade-long career in the Major Leagues with the Pirates, Yankees, Athletics, Rangers and Mets, Ellis admitted he had never pitched a game sober.
Soon after his retirement, Ellis sought treatment for alcohol and drug addiction and dedicated the rest of his life counseling people who suffered from substance abuse. He specialized in counseling professional athletes.
“Joey Poach’s script is one of the most heartfelt, honest and emotional pieces of material I’ve read in years, and I think the complexities of the character are a perfect fit for O’Shea,” Permut told Deadline Hollywood.
Co-producer Kwatinetz, founder of The Firm, a media production company in California, is also pleased with the setup.
“With Dock, we feel that now is the right time to tell Dock Ellis’ complex, but powerful, true story and couldn’t be happier to partner with David Permut, whose incredible body of work speaks for itself,” Kwatinetz said.
Ice Cube and his company, Cube Vision, are making waves too, having produced the true story of hip hop group N.W.A. in Straight Outta Compton, which was released in 2015 and collected over $200 million worldwide.
Cube’s son, Jackson Jr., also starred in that film.