Before Dusty Baker chewed toothpicks next to Steve Garvey in the Dodger Stadium dugout, he smoked a joint with Jimi Hendrix on the streets of San Francisco.
The anecdote comes from Kiss the Sky, Baker’s memoir of close encounters of the Jimi Hendrix kind. The New Yorker received a first glimpse of the forthcoming book, and shared short excerpts from Baker’s smoke-and-tell tome.
In 1967, Baker writes that he received “one of the great presents a mother could ever give a son: two tickets to the three-day Monterey Pop Festival that weekend, along with twenty bucks and use of the family car.” Baker saw Hendrix torch his guitar in an effort to upstage Pete Townsend smashing his. “When I think back on it now,” Baker writes, “the look on Jimi’s face between songs that day was a look I know all too well: It was the look of someone who has just hit a home run.”
No, Hendrix actually projected the vacant look of someone who had just taken a hit of acid. Augustus Owsley Stanley III, grandson of a Democrat Senator from Kentucky, manufactured a special batch of LSD for the event called “Monterey Purple.” Hendrix allegedly availed himself of the free fare. Acid-heads allege that “Monterey Purple” inspired “Purple Haze.” But the creation of the former postdating the latter acts as one of those logical hangups that straight society obsesses over. Prolonged LSD use can free one’s mind from such chrono-fascism.
The following year, Baker stumbled upon Hendrix in San Francisco. While the budding athlete obeyed a self-imposed “no grass” rule at Monterey, he took a “When in Rome” attitude upon meeting the guitarist. They shared a joint.
Surprised? The man’s name is “Baker.”