June 12 in sports history: Dock Ellis' wild no-no in San Diego
Dock Ellis, who won 138 games in the big leagues, entered MLB lore with a crazy no-hitter in San Diego in 1970. Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

June 12 in sports history: Dock Ellis' wild no-no in San Diego

Here's a look back at notable sports news on June 12 through the years.


1970: Dock Ellis' no-hitter against the Padres was no thing of beauty.

On a misty night in San Diego's dreary ballpark, the Pirates right-hander walked eight and hit a batter in the 2-0 win in the first game of a doubleheader. Someone estimated the 25-year-old must have thrown 150 pitches, a ridiculously high total. We'd probably have an exact count, but Bob Moose, the Pirates pitcher who was supposed to chart pitches, left the game in the second inning to get his sore foot treated. He forgot to remind someone to keep track.

Yup, this was one weird night.

The Padres stole three bases off Ellis, who never was great at holding runners. "His fastball was sailing tonight," San Diego outfielder Ivan Murrell told The Pittsburgh Press.

Years later, Ellis claimed there was a reason for his wild gem: LSD. He said he took the hallucinogenic drug the day before the game; an hour or so before the game, too.

"I can only remember bits and pieces of the game," Ellis told the Press in 1984. "I was psyched. I had a feeling of euphoria. I was zeroed in on the glove. But I didn't hit the glove too much."

"I'm still a crazy, crazy guy," he added in the interview. "But I don't drink and I don't get high [anymore]."

Ellis, who died in 2008 at 63, was one of baseball's all-time characters. MLB commissioner Bowie Kuhn once sent him a note requesting that he not wear hair curlers on the field. "He was a 1970s sports icon, outspoken and controversial, loathed and adored," wrote ESPN's Patrick Hruby. "Charles Barkley with a touch of Ozzie Guillen."

Ellis also was a solid pitcher in the big leagues, finishing his 12-year career with a 138-119 record, a World Series ring with the Pirates in 1971 ... and one crazy-a** no-hitter.

LAKERS DOWN, LAKERS UP

What a roller coaster of a date this has been for Lakers fans.

At the Boston Garden in 1984, Cedric "Cornbread" Maxwell scored 24 points, and the Celtics dominated the boards in a 111-102 win over Los Angeles in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Celtics executive Red Auerbach, of course, relished rubbing Boston's 15th NBA title in the faces of the Lakers.

"Dynasty? What dynasty?" he said of the Lakers, according to the Boston Globe, as he celebrated in the locker room. "You guys [the media] were talking about a dynasty the Lakers had, but what dynasty? Here's the only dynasty right here ... this team."

Seven years later, the Michael Jordan-fueled Bulls pounded the Lakers, 108-101, at the Great Western Forum to capture the NBA Finals in five games. It was the first of six titles of the Jordan Era in the Windy City.

"You hear so much talk about him as an individual player," the Lakers Magic Johnson said of Jordan, who scored 30 points in the clincher, "but he's proved everyone wrong with this championship."

And, in 2002, thanks to Shaq, this finally became a date for Lakers fans to celebrate. Los Angeles won its third straight NBA title with a 113-107 win over the Nets, completing a four-game sweep.

O'Neal, who scored 145 points in the series (36.3 ppg), joined Jordan as the only player to win three straight Finals MVPs. "Shaq was like a big man playing with little kids," the Lakers' Robert "Big Shot Bob" Horry said.

Los Angeles became the fifth team in NBA history to win at least three straight titles. With the victory, coach Phil Jackson tied Auerbach's mark of nine championships.

LEBRON TAKES TWO L's

2011: LeBron? D-Wade? CBosh? Bleh, said the Mavericks about the Heat's Big Three. In Game 6 of the NBA Finals in Miami, Dallas won its first NBA title with a 105-95 win. 

"Heat fans cheered last July when they welcomed [free agents] James and Chris Bosh to Miami," wrote Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald. "They stood in stunned silence in the last game in June."

2017: Six years later, LeBron, a Cavalier once more, was KOd in the Finals again. Golden State, led by Finals MVP Kevin Durant (35.2 ppg), won, 129-120, to win the NBA title in five games. "Well, we had very little talent, actually," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said afterward. "It was mostly coaching." He was kidding.

THIS DATE SUCKS FOR BASEBALL FANS

1981: MLB ballparks are empty in 2020 because of COVID-19. They were empty 39 years ago because the players went on strike, seeking a revision of free agency compensation rules. This was the fourth strike or lockout in a nine-year span dating to 1972. After a 49-day work stoppage, play restarted on Aug. 9 in Cleveland with the All-Star Game. Games canceled: 713.

YOUNG DONE

2000: After 15 years in the NFL — 13 with the 49ers — quarterback Steve Young retired. He won three Super Bowl rings with San Francisco. "For the record, I know I can still play," he told reporters. "The fire still burns but not enough for the stakes. I've done what I set out to do." Young was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

HIGH NOTE FOR BLUES

2019:  In Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in Boston, the St. Louis Blues beat the Bruins, 4-1, for their first title in franchise history. A quarter into the season, St. Louis was in last place.

Happy birthday ...

  • Jrue Holiday, 2009 first-round draft pick of the 76ers. Holiday is the youngest-ever (22) in Sixers history to make the All-Star team. He now plays for the Pelicans. (30)
  • Iconic sportscaster Marv Albert, “the voice of basketball,” recognized by his trademark “Yes!” Albert spent some 22 years with NBC, primarily doing the NBA as well as the NFL, the Stanley Cup Final, the Olympics and boxing. (79)
  • Former NFL tight end Dallas Clark, member of Super Bowl XLI-winning Indianapolis Colts.  (41)
  • Hideki Matsui, former MLB outfielder and DH and MVP of the 2009 World Series. Matsui started his career in the Nippon Professional Baseball league in Japan before transitioning to MLB where he played for the Yankees, Angels, A’s and Rays. (46)
  • Mark Calcavecchia, winner of the 1989 Open Championship as well as 13 PGA TOUR events. (60)

R.I.P:

2008: Charlie Jones, legendary, deep-voiced sports broadcaster who began his play-by-play work with the American Football League on ABC in 1960. Jones switched to NBC five years later where he spent 32 years announcing the NFL, the Olympics, golf and baseball, among other sports. He died of a heart attack at 77.


June 11: Dozens die, but stunningly the race goes on

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