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Sox History & Glory from White Sox Interactive!

Disco Demolition!

The internet's first and most complete list of Sox Fans' reflections!

July 12, 1979.  The Chicago White Sox were scheduled to the play the Detroit Tigers in a twi-night doubleheader at Old Comiskey Park.  Admission was $0.98 and a disco record.    

Click Here to Hear!
Steve Dahl talks about
Disco Demolition and
White Sox Interactive.
Courtesy
dahl.com

The records were collected for a "Disco Sucks!" rally between games, concluding in a massive explosion to destroy all the disco records collected in Comiskey's center field.

Just one problem -- the fans rioted.  The Sox forfeited the second game.

There were over 50,000 fans inside Comiskey Park that night.  An estimated 10,000 more were outside the park trying to get tickets and at least 10,000 more hopelessly stuck in a massive traffic jam on the Dan Ryan Expressway.  Were you one of these people?

Where were you on
Disco Demolition Night?

Tell us about your experience!

Just Click Here!

Read what other Sox Fans have posted...


Mike Veeck, son of Sox owner Bill Veeck, conceived the idea for the
Disco Demolition promotion. 
 


Read more about
Mike Veeck,
how Disco Demolition came to be, and whatever happened to the 20th anniversary celebration that never happened in this EXCLUSIVE interview from White Sox Interactive!

Mike Veeck Speaks
 

Thanks for writing us.  I was not personally at Disco Demolition Night, but watched the whole thing on WSNS-TV.  Several of my teenage friends managed to make their way through the traffic jam outside the park but still couldn't get in because the game was a sellout.  They along with several thousand others managed to stream into the park through a broken gate.  Naturally there weren't enough seats for all the people who got into the park, so the atmosphere was ripe for a riot.

Steve Dahl had been making a name for himself in Chicago radio since January, 1979 with a "disco sucks" campaign which he promoted on his morning drive show on WLUP.  (I know this because I was a regular listener).  Several of his band's weekend concerts were complete sellouts such as the performance at the old Pointe East disco in Lynwood, Illinois near where I grew up.  Nobody ever thought they could fill Comiskey Park so they publicized it heavily weeks in advance.  For $0.98 and a disco record, anyone could get admission.  The records were collected at the gate and meant to be blown up in a giant explosion in center field.  Lots of fans brought extra records and the gate crashers never handed in anything.  The first game was repeatedly interrupted by the disco record frisbees that landed on the field.  Mind you, these weren't baseball fans, as the stodgy old sportswriters were quick to point out in the following day's newspapers.  These were rock music fans, mostly teenage boys and twenty-somethings, and a fair amount of illegal drug activity was going on throughout the park.

Between games, Steve Dahl comes out dressed in military fatigues and helmet, leads a chant of "Disco Sucks!", and sets off the records with the assistance of Lorelei, a blonde bombshell the station featured in all their advertising.

The place went nuts!  As the ground crew began clearing the field of debris, a few fans jumped onto the field from the right field (?) corner.  What followed happened very quickly.  Within seconds there were fans jumping the wall from all corners of the ballpark.  Hundreds began running around the field for no apparent reason at all.  Sox Security was overwhelmed.  Several small bonfires were built in the outfield, and the batting practice cage was pulled out and destroyed.  The field was torn up pretty badly, and the mayhem was beyond anyone's control, so the umpires ruled a forfeit by the Sox.  The image everyone remembers is poor old Bill Veeck standing at homeplate with a microphone begging the fans to return to their seats.  He was completely ignored.

The embarassment for Sox fans mostly revolves around the condition of the field after the riot.  The outfield was scarred for the remainder of the season.  Right field was especially bad, pocked and filled with sand to aid drainage.  The sportswriters came down hard on Bill Veeck for holding such an outrageous promotion and destroying the field.  They overlooked the fact that most of the damage to the field had occured at Comiskey rock concert festivals that same summer, known as The World Series of Rock.  It rained on several of those dates and the concertgoers created most of the muddy mess that Disco Demolition was blamed for.

1979 was a crazy year from a crazy decade.  Baseball tried lots of goofy things to bring back fans.  For total outrageousness, nothing compares to the riot they had in Cleveland during $0.10 beer night.  I think that was back in 1974.  Anyway, for teenagers like myself, Disco Demolition was just the latest goofy thing to get wrapped into.  We grew up and moved on.  The sportswriters who wrote all those nasty things about Veeck forgave him soon enough -- especially after Reinsdorf and Einhorn took some cheap shots after buying the team in '81.

I'm sorry if I got a little long winded.  Writing this has struck a nostalgic chord within me.  Thanks for indulging me with your attention.

George Bova
White Sox Interactive
 

What happened on Disco Demolition Night? I've heard so much  about it, but I never heard of anyone that was there that night against the Detroit Tigers. I heard the crowd ran on the field when the records were blowing up. It is always been an embarrassment for White Sox fans. What happened on the first game of the doubleheader, and who played for the teams then?  What did the papers say the next day? It's an interest of mine, and I would like to know more about it.

Ben Bower


Where was I on Disco Demolition Night?  I was in the middle of the field... I am Lorelei.
  
I was a model from Los Angeles, who was riding a wave of popularity with my "lip sync" commercials.  I had been invited to Chicago a few times, by station WLUP, for various public appearances.  This was one of those times.  What people didn't know is that I was 32 years-old, married with 2 children.  Most people thought I was more like Steve Dahl's age - who was 24.

Chicago's Rock'n Roll siren,
The Loop, FM-98's
Lorelei


Read more about Lorelei and her memories of that fateful night from 1979 in this EXCLUSIVE interview from White Sox Interactive!

Lorelei Speaks!
 

This specific appearance... I was told that the promotion was in Comiskey Park during a double-header.  Anyone who brought a disco record could get in to the game for 98¢.  The disco records would then be destroyed during half-time.  Well - it was more of a success and a disaster, than anyone had bargained for.  On that day - I had just come from a corporate cocktail party in my honor, where I was rubbing shoulders with some of the higher-ups in Chicago politics & broadcasting.  I had recently done a promotional poster for "the Loop" and was taken to Comiskey Park for a pre-game poster  autograph signing session.  Even that was bizarre - my biggest fans were tween-age boys.  My own son was 6 years old at the time - so I felt more motherly towards them, than like a heart-throb.  As I was signing the posters, I was also envisioning them being thrown away.  But, I was a professional and did my job, which was to be that rocker that these kids fantasized about.  

By the time the first game started, Steve Dahl & I were in the press room - having food, drinks and waiting for our half-time appearance.  We had heard that there were 100,000 people in and around the park.  Before I knew it, we were brought downstairs and put on a jeep, with 2 body guards in the jeep and 2 more running with us (I thought this was overkill - but - whatever).  We were driven onto the field as if we were in a parade, on a float, waving to the crowd.  When we reached the middle of the field - we got out - Steve had a microphone and started talking to the crowd as I was just waving to everyone.  It was so surreal... I felt like I was in the middle of a beehive.  All I could hear was buzzing all around me.  Steve started to get the crowd excited, as only Steve could do,  chanting "disco sucks", over and over.  The buzzing got louder and louder, it was deafening.   He then blew-up a big crate of disco records, that all the kids had brought.  The next thing I knew, I was being lifted off the ground by 2 body guards, one on each arm.  They ran, holding me off the ground, and put me in the jeep; Steve jumped in the jeep and we drove off.  I all of a sudden saw why - crowds of people were streaming onto the field.  There was no way to get back, the way we came, so we headed outside the park.  

We actually drove onto the streets - where thousands of fans were screaming and waving - we screamed & waved back.  We were driven around to the front of the building and went back-up to the press room.  There was pure chaos in there.  We heard that the mayor called out the national guard.  Steve got on the PA system, trying to get the fans to stop.  Nothing worked... the field was totally torn up... they cancelled the 2nd game.  In the meantime, we were basically held prisoners in this press room.  I was supposed to be flying home at 9pm that evening.  I called my husband to say, "...uh, honey, I won't be making my plane this evening.  The kids got a little out-of-control and I won't be able to leave here for awhile You'll probably see it on TV ...I'm fine."

I did get home the following day - and life was back to normal.  

 


  

 

I was there!  I was there!  One of the formative experiences of my 18th year.  In the upper deck right field, I stood in line waiting for the beer vendor to get his stock replenished.  While I was waiting I could see the streets were filled outside with “fans” pushing to get in.  It was standing room only.  They had no idea outside that there was no place to go when they pushed down the fence.  I was the 5th person in a line that stretched out of sight.  The guy had 6 cases.  Each person in front of me said the same thing, “Give me a case!”  I did the same and all the beer was gone with the guy right behind me!  My buddy and I sat in the upper deck and watched the hysteria unfold.  When Dahl was finished there was nothing else to do, but storm the field.  I swear there were couples actually screwing on the field!  Fires were everywhere.  When the police came out and lined the field with horses and dogs in riot gear, things got serious.  Amazing how efficiently they took care of business clearing the field. 

Steve David
Newport News, VA


I am a former Chicagoan who now lives in Edmonton Alberta, Canada.  I was at Disco Demolition Night and it was the wildest thing I have ever seen. I was sitting in the lower deck of the right field bleachers in the last row so I could see what was going on inside and outside the park.  I saw people climbing down the foul poles from the upper deck, some of the sprinklers were turned on. There were record albums flying all over the place. A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to go on the field. I looked at all the record albums being thrown on the field from the upper deck and decided I did not want to risk getting hit by one of them so I stayed where I was.

Some people were sitting in circles on the field and smoking joints. Outside the park people were partying and yelling for security to let them in. At the time they estimated that there were as many people outside the park as there were in the park. It not doubt was the largest crowd the White Sox have ever had and by the way they lost both games.

Jim A.


About five of us drove up from Whiting, Ind., and knew to get there early or we would not get in. I remember forking over a Bee-Gees disc for 98 cents and as I recall they actually gave back two cents in change when turning in the voucher with your dollar at the ticket box. It must have been about 97 out and 100 percent humidity and the sky was an ugly gray and the smell ... You just knew something was going to happen. The rest is history. Sure do miss Old Comiskey and Falstaff.

Glenn McCullom
New York, NY


 

I was there on Disco Demolition night along with 50 other fellow 8-9 year old cub-scouts and chaperones.  I think that our scout troop picked that game so we could get cheap tickets...  My dad was one of the chaperones, and was in classic "suburban dad" gear - collared shirt with a brimmed fishing hat to cover his balding scalp from the sun.  Definitely not a blend with the long haired 70's heavy metal crowd that showed up for the game.

 
 My aunt was a big disco fan, and would come over and teach us how to dance - I really didn't have a problem with disco, but just wanted to go to the game.  Once we got there, I really didn't understand why everyone hated disco so much - I was trying to scoop up some of the flying 45 rpm records to take home with me.  My dad even got hit in the back of the head with a record frisbee, but we stayed at the game anyway.  I don't think that anyone, especially not the cub scouts, anticipated the scene that eventually played out that day - after a while there was a whole group of scouts that were chanting "disco sucks" along with the crowd. 
 
In hindsight, we would have been better off leaving the park altogether, but our seats were scattered in several sections.  Once you left the stadium, there was no going back in, and we only had one bus.  Rather than try and shuffle groups of us out at a time, everyone thought the whole thing would blow over.  Then of course, the riot started with one guy running out on the field to grab a record, followed by several other daredevils.  Next, it looked as if the whole stadium was pouring on the field.  I would guess that these days, that would be enough to mobilize the scouts back to the bus, most of us were all scattered by then. 
 
Some went down to the railing to see the action, some of the chaperones were trying to keep everyone else together, and my dad still doesn't remember how we all finally got together and out of there.  We went to a lot of Sox games after that, however, none as colorful as that night. 
 
Bill,
La Grange

 


 

Hi.  My ex-husband & I lived in Bridgeport all our lives and were big Sox fans. We went to as many games as we could (tickets were inexpensive & we could walk there).  We were young  (22) & knew of Steve Dahl, but had no idea about Disco Demolition.  As we walked in, I asked him why all these people had records and he didn't know either.  Anyway, when Steve blew them all up, there was a lot of chaos in the stands and I really grew scared.  I asked him to get us out of there and we walked home.  It is something to say we were there, but it was not something I would have been proud to have been in had I specifically went for the demolition.  I have run into people over the years who went just for that reason & they are proud and remember (fondly!)  ruining the ballpark.   I guess they think they made history. 

Karen Roberts
 


I was at Disco Demolition along with my sister, her husband and two of our friends. We were in the upper deck, so unfortunately when all the "demolishing" began we had no access to the field, but every single one of us wanted to rush the field once things got started. It was a sort of collective energy thing going on, but it also helped that we all had about 3 or 4 beers by the time things got rolling.  I remember bringing a Donna Summer record to gain admission, and we also brought the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack, (double record), which was good for two of us to get in. Later that night, my friend's husband got hit in the head with a "frisbeed" record, and I remember getting cut with the edge of a broken 45 that had been flung our way.

After watching the mayhem for 30-40 minutes, we ended up on the third base side in the stands just watching but it was better than running with the bulls! Way fun. Never thought we'd end up as part of "history"...but everyone I ever mention it to seems very impressed that I was there.

Thanks White Sox....every Major League Team should have a least one ghost in their closet! I'm proud to say I lived through this one!

K.M. Lisowski
Chicago, IL. July, 2004

Happy 25th Anniversary!!!


I was a senior in high school.  We sat in the right field upper deck.  Many people were flingimg 45 records like frisbees at the Detroit Tigers outfielders, including Chet Lemon, former White Sox standout.  Once the 45 records were detonated by Steve Dahl in Center Field between games , chaos prevailed.   People were like animals, ripping up turf and stealing home,1st 2nd and 3rd bases.  All summer Steve Dahl and Gary (Meyers)? were inciting the youth of Chicago into an anti disco frenzy with the "Insane Coho Lips Army" against disco, since John Travolta and Saturday night fever and the BeeGees were  all over the other radio stations airwaves.

 
After 30-45 minutes the Chicago mounted police used they're only possible means to clear the field.  They lined up horses nose to tail and walked them sideways, from the middle of the field to the stands until all the Loop 98 black T-shirt wearing high shool age fans were pushed off the field.  This was the definition of Chicago Rock and Roll teenagers, drunk on Blatz or Falstaff beer, whatever cheap beer Comiskey had that season..
 
Fred Levy

 


 
I'm working on the Disco Demolition movie with Steve Dahl, Bob Teitel and Bob Odenkirk.  I've been wanting to do one for years because I was there.  I was fourteen and had to work at my dad's gas station at 31st and Morgan that day.  I didn't think I was going to be able to go because I didn't think my friends (who had been at a kegger all day) could get their shit together to go.  A buddy of mine, Tom Kelley, called me and said, "Zulu, can you get a ride to Comiskey."  My dad, being the sweetheart that he was, took me back home after work (we lived at 86th and California), picked up my buddies AND stopped at the Sears on Western so we could purchase disco records.  45s were a buck then so I didn't mind picking up a Donna Summers disk.  We were in the bleachers and I could see the maniacs scaling the outside walls in an attempt to go on the field.  I suggested it to my friends but they were mainly sons of cops and firemen and didn't want to take the chance on being involved in such an endeavor.  Anyway, 25 years later I'm glad as hell I went.  Now, we just gotta get this movie shot!
 
Sincerely,
Jim Zulevic
Hollywood, USA
 
P.S. Let the Cubs languish in third and have the Sox stay in first so that maybe the Chicacgo media can yank their heads out of their asses and provide some balance.

My dearly departed father never met a twi-night doubleheader he didn't like. Two games for the price of one, an excuse to knock a few more beers back without having to explain why he was out later than usual. Since this was to be a twi-nighter against the Tigers, the old man had his tickets early and neither he, my younger brother or I had any clue what was going to happen that night.

I was fourteen at the time and I remember the unusually massive crowd outside of Comiskey, most were wearing black t-shirts and it was apparent that this was not a typical Sox crowd. We had great seats, first row, upper deck right above third base, a perfect view to witness what would occur after the first game. I can't tell you who won the first game, who pitched or what the score was. I do remember that the game was stopped countless times as disco records kept being thrown out on the field. At one point, one came screaming right at me, I ducked and it hit the back of my seat. Funny what you remember, it was a Donna Summer 33 1/3 LP and it was pretty smashed up after it hit my seat.

Anyway, game #1 ended and a big crate full of disco albums was brought out to center field and blown up. That was it, hundreds of people came down over the walls and on to the field. People were running around and just going crazy. I remember all of the bases and the pitching rubber were stolen from the infield. The batting cage was drug out from behind the center field wall and was set on fire along with the remains of the disco records and the crate.

Harry Caray, full of Old Style (or was it Falstaff?) tried his best to clear the field through several renditions of "take me out to the ballgame" (yes Cub fans, that started at Comiskey, I know it's hard for you to believe or admit to) and even Bill Veeck himself took the mike in an attempt to get game #2 under way, all to no avail. These weren't baseball fans, they just came out for the party (Sound familiar North-Siders?). All of this went on for about an hour and then, from behind home plate, came a sea of light blue, Chicago's finest in full riot gear and the party was over. There was a mix of cheers and boos upon their arrival and woe to those who didn't get off the filed quickly enough, they definitely paid the price.

Personally, I thought the police response was pretty cool and it helped me to make an important decision as I've been a cop for the last 19 years. I'm not saying Disco Demolition Night was a turning point in my life but it did have some bearing on what I wanted to do when I "grew up."

I remember watching Sparky Anderson talking to the umps before game two was supposed to start. The field was pretty well torn up and there was no way Sparky was going to put his team out there, not when he could get a win without throwing a pitch and that's what happened. We went home disappointed, (none more than Dad) but man, we had something to talk about all summer long! I'm glad I was there to witness all that I did and while the memories fade with time, being there was certainly different.

Mark Chamberlain,

Loxahatchee, Florida


I was almost 17 at the time.  If I could not make it to a Sox game in person, watching it on channel 44 (and being entertained by Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall) was the next best thing.  I watched the first game of that doubleheader against the Tigers.  The Sox lost, but I planned on watching the second game, hoping for a split.

 
A close friend of mine came over just to hang out.  After a few minutes, my dad tells both of us that there is a huge riot at Sox Park.  The three of us watch the television as the power of "Disco Demolition Night" unfolded.  None of us could say anything.  There were no words to describe it.  As degrading as the moment was for the White Sox and Bill Veeck, I remember that my friend and I wished we were there, while my dad, a long-time Sox fan, could not believe what happened on the field where his heroes (Appling, Aparicio, Minoso, Fox, Pierce, Lollar, Donovan, and Landis) once played ball.
 
Dave Straub
south side

I remember that day like yesterday. I was and am a SOX fan but nonetheless also a disco hater. I was a sophomore at Kennedy HS on the SW side in Garfield Ridge. We went to several games that year, and hung out at Marquette park all summer. We actually went to see the double header and paid ticket price I guess. No album, but the guy we lit up with behind us had a Santa Esmerelda? record to donate.

The place was a scene, I recall nothing like it then or since but I remember most of all Harry's disgust later that night on the 10:00 news. It was fun, a good moment in time but Steve was a bit too obnoxious and a bit of an immature clown. Good luck in his endeavors.

What I recall ten times more vivid is the forgotten festival in that very park 2 days later. In order Eddie Money, Molly Hatchet, Thin Lizzy, Santana and of course in their day, Journey. Great show. Great times.

Jimmy Valentine

 


I was selling souvenirs outside the park on 35th and Shields for Fred.  Remember Fed was the guy with the sliver hair and the blue souvenir stands on the kitty corners.  I got there early after taking 1/2 day at my job doing Curb and Gutters for Streets and Sanitation.  There was nary a baseball fan in sight...people did not even know how to get into the park or where the entrance to Comiskey was located!!.....some were pretty stiff when they arrived. 

I had the small wood baseball bats in my money pouch and after an hour of breaking two different bats trying to get people to stop stealing hats and banners I told the guys to put the stands in the trailer and head to McCuddy's.

I was playing rugby for WIU and the Windy city Nomads (during the summer) but I could see that this was going to get way way out of control and was not up for scrumming down over someone else's hats, bats, balls and t-shirts. 

Well luckily Francis McCuddy was a pal (she was always good for an old Babe Ruth story or two) and she let me in as McCuddy's had already decided to close around 6 or so. I hung-out with some girls and drank beer till it was somewhat safe to come on out.

What a night on the Great South Side of Chicago!

Cheers,

Gary Burns
Johannesburg, South Africa

(Made it further south than 111th Street! )


Does anyone remember our "What do Linda Lovelace and Disco have in Common banner" that we unfurled over the right field upper deck  @ lst base area? That didn't get on TV !

Frank Piontek
South Bend, IN


 

I decided to attend Disco Demolition Night because I was able to leave my job early and catch a double header - in those days you got to see both games for the price of one. I had no idea what was planned for the night between games... in those days you couldn't count me as one of Steve Dahl's radio listeners.

I heard about the promotion on the White Sox flagship station on the way to the park and thought little of it. As I pulled into a non-White Sox supervised parking lot located along the train tracks I could tell right away that the evening was going to be a problem. A lot of people were already pretty well liquored up and were rowdy all the way to the ticket windows. People were carrying records...lots of them. I waited in line to get my ticket and observed a sight I will never forget. Some guy put a lighter to a John Travolta doll and we watched it smolder and burn on the sidewalk. People were shouting "Disco Sucks", a common phrase in those days. Now, I didn't like disco either, but I couldn't understand why people would exert so much time and energy to put it down. It seemed juvenile to me.

I got into the park and proceeded to my seat, which was located well down the first base line in the lower deck. The Sox lost the first game to Detroit, which just seemed to aggravate and energize the crowd. As soon as the first game was over Steve Dahl was ready to blow up records in center field. As this was occuring things got really out of hand. People were gliding records like frisbees all over the place. The situation became dangerous. I remember the Sox pitcher scheduled for the second game (I think it was Ken Kravec) warming up along the third base line. He was dodging records that seemed to be aimed at him. People were running all over the field. The whole event seemed surreal. An announcement was made specifically that continued behavior of this type would result in a forfeiture of the second game for the White Sox. Very few of the participants heeded this warning. Eventually the game was forfeited. That only made the situation worse. The police had to get involved.

As the rowdiness escalated I remember Sox manager Don Kessinger standing near home plate with his hands up in the air pleading to the owner's box. I am convinced that as a result of that night Kessinger decided to quit a week later. He probably examined the situation, felt that the times were different from the days when he played the game and he didn't want any part of managing for the Sox organization. Bill Veeck was beloved in White Sox land, but he would become the object of criticism. He let his son Mike plan Disco Demolition Night along with Steve Dahl and the ultimate responsibilty ended up on his shoulders. The media was very critical for some time after that night.

As a non-participant I can only remember the looks on the faces of those who came to the game with no idea what was planned that evening and didn't understand what was happening on the field. A lot of them were families and older people. They felt cheated out of watching a second game. I can't say I blamed them. I felt the same way. I was embarrassed by the behavior of so many inconsiderate people. I'll bet most of the people who participated in the destruction that night hardly ever attended a Sox game. To this day when I hear the name "Steve Dahl" all I can think of is Disco Demolition Night. When I returned to my car I actually saw people lifting cars out of the way to get out of the lot. I was glad to escape without damage to me or my car.

As a postscript to the game, the field was in such trampled condition that it took several weeks for the grass to recover. I attended a game about a week later where I actually saw a ball hit to right field that looked like it landed in a sand trap...with a great big thud. A routine single was stretched into a double. Opposing clubs complained about the field conditions. The rest of the Sox season seemed not to matter to me any more.


I was 12 years old and my cousin, Gil, took me to see the games at Comiskey.  He was a big stoner, and I remember thinking that he was so cool because he listened to the Loop and did all this crazy art.  I didn't even know that they were going to blow up the debri box of records that night; how'd they even get away with that?  When it happened, I wanted to run out on that field and be like all the "big kids"-- but my cousin said no way!!!  I thought for sure that the people on the field would get their heads beat, but the police/players surprised me by showing an incredible amount of restraint in their dealings with the rioters.  It was just all too cool for a dorky kid to absorb.  What a wild night!

Cindy Gaona DeOliveira--Disco Demolition survivor


You will not believe this but I am the one in the picture posted above (PLAID SHIRT) along with my two friends Chris Pradzynski and Bill Kress. I am currently living in Michigan but boy do I remember that night.  What a night. After Steve Dahl came out with I forgot her name from the LOOP the blonde bombshell. What a babe !!! Anyway they wheeled out this gigantic box and from that point on it was chaos.  I was sitting in the lower right field bleachers and when they blew up that box it was the craziest thing ever, people were flowing over the walls running onto the field. Like the pic shows I was one of the brave souls, sliding into second base. But before you know it, it became a war zone, pieces of albums flying thru the air hitting people. I could feel no pain but there was no way I was going to stay out there and get sliced up with broken album pieces. Then the bonfire so crazy, pulling the batting cage over center field. Its funny 25 years later I am in Detroit my pic ends up on the front page of the 25th anniversary. All I can say is IT WAS A MOMENT I WILL NEVER FORGET and am glad to be a part of it. GO WHITE SOX, THANKS CHICAGO FOR THE GREAT MOMENT.

Michael Matela
Ann Arbor, MI.


I was at Disco Demolition with my Friends Andrew and Brett and his older brother who was a big Sox Fan.  We were all Listeners to 'The Loop' and Steve Dahl and card carrying members of the Insane Coho Lips.  Steve Dahl's anti-disco 'army'.  I was and AM a big baseball fan so ball games were always a draw to me.  We went to this one, like all others, early enough to catch batting practice.  So, I was surprised to hear it was sold out and that there were thousands of people mulling around outside the park.  I was only 16 at the time so the feeing of the power we had as a group of people was a sort of rush to me!  I remember the first game only for the mix of excitement and embarrassment I felt from the crowd in the stands.  We were chanting to bring down the roof.  But it wasn't chanting for the game.  We kept on chanting Disco Sucks.  It seemed like there was a constant barrage of records and posters flying through the air.  I remember being perticularly embarrassed by that because people were flinging them intentionally at the Tiger players and I know how much those things hurt!  We were in Centerfield which, at Comiskey park had a 30 foot brick wall down to the field.  That is where we hung our 'Disco Sucks' Banner.  I can't remember what it said but know it referenced our group of friends as the 'PPP' which meant the Pembroke Park Partiers.  I also remember that Brett's brother was pretty pissed about the way people were acting.  I also remember that we all were getting pretty high.  It was more like an outdoor concert than a game.  There were pipes and bongs being passed around and anyone could smell what was being smoked.  By the break between games everyone was blitzed and exploded when Steve Dahl came out in an Army Jeep I think, with military fatigues and a helmet on.  When he blew up the records everyone cheered but things did not get crazy until after he left the field.  As the clean up crew started some fans in right field, I think it was, started to stream over the sides.  When that happened all hell broke loose and people around us started to try to find ways onto the field.  One doofus tried to go over the brick wall in centerfield by using our sign.  He asked us to hold it, which we did, and he proceeded to plummet 30 feet onto the field.  The sign, made of a bed sheet ripped immediately.  I remember seeing him rolling around in pain and remember reading in the paper that there were only some minor injuries such as fractured ankles and thought he was one of them.
 
Well, I could not resist the temptation to go down onto the field that I grew up watching Bill Melton and Carlos May play on so we went down to the picnis area.  In the old Comiskey there were metal screens at field level where you could eat and watch the game.  Some people had bent back the screens and we got onto the field through there.  I only remember milling about checking out the field.  I didn't want to damage it.  What I definitely remember is seeing the Chicago Police form a line at home plate in riot gear.  When they showed up the crowd parted like the red sea.  No one wanted to mess with the Cops.  This was not a true riot.  It was a bunch of partiers gone berserk.  So the cops had no trouble dispersing the crowd.  We waited in hope that the second game would happen and were bummed to hear that the Sox had to forfeit.
 
I am a little embarrassed to admit being a part of it.  But, also a perverse pride comes over me when I relate that my generation protested Disco music as vehemently as others protested war,

 


What a night.  As we dropped down over the left field wall we were immediately chased by two Chicago police.  They were just swinging their clubs back and forth.  The funniest thing I saw was people trying to take chunks of the outfield grass home with them.  HEY MAN YOU CAN'T SMOKE THAT!!!

 
Roy
Sacramento, CA
 

I was there!  I was in my "season ticket" seats-right field, front row, upper deck...sat there all the time during the Veeck years since he never sold those seats as reserved.  When I arrived at the park at about 2:00 p.m., I knew there was going to be trouble..it looked like there was a Rolling Stones concert or something taking place given all the non-fans where lined up to go in.
 
Game One was relatively uneventful....occasional shouts of "disco sucks!" but nothing to cause concern.....then came the festivities between games.  Steve Dahl did his thing and then one, two three people trickled onto the field...then came a torrent of people!  In the upper deck we were throwing beer on the jerks, to no avail...Veeck and Harry were pleading for calm, but these people did not care, they probably did not know who they were...then there were two lines of blue running out of both dugouts..the police.  Everyone in the infield ran to the outfield, except one wasted fool who was staggering around home plate.  A bunch of police officers ran up to the idiot and beat the daylights out of him.....the people in the outfield ran into the stands.
 
The police then circled the stands on the field, occasionally running into the stands to chase down hecklers.  After a while, the announcement was made that the second game was called (big surprise given the trenches in front of Short and the pitchers' mound).  Only a few gates were open for exit and they were lined with police officers.
 
It was worth going to the game, I got a Lorelei poster for my dorm room at the game and a memory that will last forever....

I was one of the many at this event back in the day. I was very young, about 7 years old, but I knew what was going on! I remember going to the game and questioning my mother on why she was bringing a disco record to blow up even though she loved disco and listened to it all the time! She said "To be a part of history".  I didn't understand that. I just thought she loved the BEE GEE'S! All I remember after that is just sitting back and
watching the most chaotic thing happen right in front of me and I could not believe it was happening at a baseball game. I just wanted to see Chet Lemon! Well, at least I can say I was there! It was fun from what I can remember!

Ricky Vitalo
Brighton Park
Chicago South Side!


I was 14 years old when I attended the ill-fated Sox-Tigers game on July 12, 1979. We knew about it weeks before and actually got caught at the library trying to steal a Disco record to get in that night.  There are several things I remember vividly. About 6 of us were in the lower level of right-center field. There was a guy near us that had an empty tube, (like from wrapping paper) that he was using to shoot bottle rockets at the second base umpire. As for the numerous M-80’s, the one thing I remember most is the Tiger outfielders coming out during the later stages of game 1 wearing batting helmets!  The ‘Welcome Home Skylab’ banner, Dahl dressed in fatigues, Harry chanting ‘back to your seats!’. What an experience. 

Jason Gregory


I was there in 1979 and I remember taking the Archer bus down to 35th and over to the park. It was early in the day so we were able to get in. I turned in a Rod Stewart album "Blondes Have More Fun" and I was in for the .98 cents!!!

We sat in the upper left/center field bleachers second to last row. It was complete mayhem early on and the crowd and the park swelled!!! As we looked outside it was just insane as police on horses were everywhere and crowds of thousands were trying to get in. Cars were stuck in traffic and people were actually climbing up the drainage pipes and sneaking into the park. Fans were flinging records at Ron LeFlore in center field from the start. Fans were making giant paper jet airplanes with the Lorelei posters and throwing them on the field.

The stands were loaded with drinking and pot smoking. Disco Sucks chants rained down through the first game. I was electric but it was crazy. Finally, Steve Dahl did his thing with his crew "The Insane Coho Lips" and Lorelei. After the records blew, the field went up in flames and the fans spilled out all over the place. Dahl and his cohorts got out of Dodge quickly and the fans poured out onto the field. People were sliding into the bases and then they stole the bases and the pitcher's mound. Cops on horses were overwhelmed and many fights and typical rioting broke out all around the park.

When the levy broke we made a dash for the buses and I think that I got a ride home from a family friend. Of course, when I walked in the door and my Dad found out I was at that game all hell broke loose again!!! When I went to bed I laughed because I knew that I witnessed an incredible event!!!!
 


I too, didn't attend Disco demolition night, but I watched the whole thing unfold on TV. It's funny because prior to this, Steve Dahl did a series of these shows at smaller venues around the Chicago area, and sure enough, there was a riot after each one. While watching Game One of the double header, there were constant interuptions in the game from kids throwing records on the field (45 rpms make great frisbees!).  I told my date whom I was watching the with that this thing will turn into a huge riot. Sure enough, that's what happened.

 
Those three years of 1978, 1979 and 1980 were probably the bleakest ones that I experienced as a Sox fan.
 

I was 16 years old in 1979 and went to Disco Demolition Night with my two older brothers. Even though I was (and still am) a big Steve Dahl fan, my brothers weren't and we went to the game because we were Sox fans and wanted to see a doubleheader. We sat about 30 rows up along the third base line. Luckily, we were sitting back far enough so we couldn't get beer, firecrackers, records, etc., dropped on us from the upper deck. Between games, Steve Dahl came out wearing a WWII-era helmet, marching with a giant staff to the cheers of everyone. I remember it being so loud that you couldn't hear yourself think. I also remember dozens of records--45s and LPs--sailing out of the stands, some sticking into the turf as they hit. When Steve blew up the records, all hell broke loose. First a few, then hundreds of people poured out onto the field. At one point, a group of people pulled out the batting cage from behind the center field fence and pretty much destroyed it. There was also a fire set in center field. I remember huge chunks of the outfield turf being torn up. People were running around the infield, sliding into where the bases would have been if they hadn't already been stolen.

Where we were sitting, the fans around us who didn't go on the field--and there were a lot of us who didn't--began chanting "Na Na Na Na, Na Na Na Na, hey a**holes, sit down." Steve even came on the P.A. system and begged people to return to their seats. About a half-hour into the scene, Chicago Police dressed in riot gear came streaming into the stands and out onto the field. I think the cops got the biggest cheer of the night. That pretty much ended the people on the field part. After the field was cleared, we had to wait a long time (I think the better part of an hour) for them to call the second game off. That got everyone upset all over again and the police actually cleared the whole stadium. One of the memories of that night I will never forget is the look of terror on a police horse's face as thousands of angry, drunk fans streamed out of Comiskey. A truly surreal experience.

Phil Allen


I was vacationing in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, when Disco Demolition Night took place.  So I had a unique perspective from afar.  The fracas at the Old Comiskey Park that night was truly an international story.  For instance, I want to say the riot made the front page of The Miami Herald.  I remember seeing an NBC News report on it as well.  Also, my father was in Brazil on business that night, and he said Disco Demolition made the newspapers down there as well. 

 
¡Viva Mágglio!

I was working for WJCK Radio in Rensselaer, Indiana then.

 

I had purchased upper deck tickets  and had received four passes to the lower deck because I was on the field before the game with my three guests. The purpose of going was because Pat Underwood was starting that night for Detroit. (Underwood was from Kokomo, Indiana) one of my guests had coached against him in Legion ball. My guest was also a lifelong Detroit fan. So, everything seemed perfect. When we arrived early I felt something was strange from the beginning. The people roaming outside the ballpark didn't appear like any Sox fan I had witnessed at Comiskey before. Entering the ballpark everything went well. My guests got to visit with Underwood and they thoroughly enjoyed experiencing being on the field. When it was time to take our seats I asked them which location they would rather sit, and they chose upper deck above third base dugout. Well, needless to say we were treated to quite a show from high atop the field of destruction! I can't imagine what it would have been like with everyone going over our shoulders to get on the field if we had sat in the lower level. We were stunned and hushed by what we were witnessing. At some point it became obvious the second game was not going to start. Next challenge was how we were going to get out of Comiskey safely.

 

I asked the guys if they wanted to leave, they eagerly replied, "yes"!  I said follow me and my friend handed me the keys to his car for me to drive. IF we could make it there safely. I'll never forget seeing Chicago's finest on horse back expecting the worst under the light of night like silhouette's as we exited the Park.
 

We made it home safely. I'll never forget that night for a bigger reason. It was the last game the coach I took ever saw in person. He passed away from cancer the following February.

Lanny Sigo

Lafayette, IN

I was in the left field lower deck with my fellow Sox Supporters. I was amazed by the steady stream of drunks climbing through one of those famous open windows behind us. You could barely move in the ballpark. Between games when the nonsense started, a record album hit a buddy, Ron Battaglin, right between the eyes, vertically. Blood everywhere. Beers everywhere, too. He toughed it out with the help of the nectar of the gods.

Aggravated White Sox Fan Bob


A most remarkable and memorable occasion. my three stoner friends and I arrived early, turned in the bargain bin $.50 disco albums, and were on our way. We were all 18 years old. we were in the left field bleachers, second row up from the railing. we were enjoying a pleasant buzz as the crowd began to take their seats. I distinctly recall someone throwing an album on the field while the teams were warming up, and some player picking it up and hurling it out of the park like a super-frisbee.

 
We were not indulging in alcohol, due to the failure of our inferior fake ID's, but a bunch of older kooks (twentyish) were in the front row, and were getting profoundly drunk. they engaged in a gambling endeavor called "guess how many empty beer cups". They would slip a dollar in a sleeve of cups they had drained, and whoever got it right got the buck. the cups went over the edge. The whole sleeve at once. The sleeve always had over 20 cups, and was over 40 one time.
 
The crowd was insane even before the first game was over (and pretty much before it began). bottle rockets and m-80's were blowing up as they passed our heads with increasing frequency. It was evident, at least in retrospect, that the park was filled beyond capacity (10 other guys we knew paid an Andy Frain $20, or whatever company wandered around in little suits, to let them all in a side door due to the sellout).
 
I thought things had reached their peak when Steve Dahl rolled around in his jeep and sang his absurd disco song. but the moment that led to pure madness was when the enormous box of disco albums blew up- then blew up a second time and showered down on the field,  while a barrage of aerial bombs exploded at what seemed to be face level. it was spectacular, amazing, and beautiful. the place went absolutely nuts.
 
Fans/ hammerheads began to pour onto the field. there were fires and throwing of debris. I recollect the bases being pulled out, and a group of happy citizens pushing around a batting cage until the wheels busted off. not to mention an amorous couple starting at homeplate, going down on each other until a big enough crowd formed, and then running to the next base.
 
The tremor and horror resonating in Harry Caray's voice was especially memorable- "people, people, please get off the field!". who knows how many Buds Harry had to consume to get over that one.  Maybe that's why he went up north, the traitor.
 
Anyhow, chaos was the climactic order of the day and we watched in the awe that only a stoned 18 year old can appreciate.  It became very surrealistic when the stadium lights were shut down, as everything assumed an eerie yellow hue. 
 
Then the cops marched out in their riot line up.  I recall one smartass actually approaching the cop-line in his youthful naiveté and immortality, only to get a billy club in the gut.  He folded in half quite nicely.
 
People were still insane as we exited the park, and some crazy sonofabitch ran up to the first car he saw, jumped on the roof, and stomped the hell out of it.
 
The next day I found out that the guys I knew (who paid off Andy Frain to get in) ended up in some light tower and were whipping light bulbs out. they were seized by Chicago's finest and handcuffed together, one's right arm to the left arm of the guy on his left, etc.  They complained of how hard it was to negotiate the ramps chained together like that, especially while stoned.
 
There was also a picture in the paper of another acquaintance of mine, as he went over the wall onto to the field.
 
In short, a very good time was had by all. while it was chaos, it seemed to be controlled chaos, if there is such a thing. it was not physically violent ala people assaulting each other, although it may have appeared violent. it was the pinnacle of 1970's South Side doper fun, and I have only fond memories.  God bless the South Side.  Thanks for listening.

Blair Libby


 

The Demolition part of your website is cool.  I remember that summer, I was 12 years old living in Bellevue, WA.  The Sonics won the Championship and each night there was a show called Disco Destruction on KISW out of Seattle.  When I saw the riot on the news I was so happy!!!  I said, "look dad, DISCO SUCKS!!!",  he replied "don't talk like that".    I have told people about that once in a while for years and years.  I wish I would have been there. 


I was living in Detroit and watching the game with my Dad and Grandfather. I can remember Al Kaline and George Kell saying, "I don't know how they are ever going to get this field ready for the next game."

-Bucktown


I was sitting in the right field bleachers.  What a great night!  There were obnoxious kids smoking joints right next to a grandpa at the game with his grandson.  Not the proudest moment in club history, but one heck of a party.


I was 18 years old in the summer of 1979, a college student, a Sox fan, a Steve Dahl fan, and rock and roll fan (not necessarily in that order).  I hadn't planned on going to that fateful game but late that afternoon a couple of buddies of mine decided at the last minute to head down to "Sox Park" and enjoy the game and the promotion. 

None of us had access to a car so we hopped on the Pulaski Ave. and transferred at Archer ave. This was the first point I noticed something was amiss. The Archer bus was affectionately known as the "Babushka Express" for usually it was filled with little old ladies and their shopping carts. On that day the bus was full of teenage kids in black "Loop" t-shirts openly drinking beer on the bus; the party atmosphere also included other intoxicants. 

We transferred again at 35th street and that bus got even crazier... soon we were stuck in gridlock traffic on 35th street. Like most of the others we got off the bus at about Ashland and figured we would walk the remaining mile and a half since it was almost game time. 

The crowd swelled as we neared the Park; by the time we got to the Box Office the Police were telling people to "go away" that the game was sold out. The streets and sidewalks teemed with people, open beer cans everywhere  & traffic was NOT moving. We ended up watching the last part of the first game on TV at one of the guy's house. 

We were fascinated by the mayhem after the first game, the fans running around on the field, the clouds of smoke.... I remember Jimmy Piersall, openly disgusted, repeating over and over that "these were not baseball fans here" and that "these kids are obviously on something more than beer". He was generally right on both counts. I recently bought a ticket stub from Disco Demolition on eBay; although it was not a proud moment in Pale Hose history it was certainly a memorable one...

Gerry - "a 35 year sox fan"


I was there. From 1970 through 1983, I was a vendor at Chicago area sports arenas, including Sox Park (sorry, but nobody ever called it Comiskey), Wrigley Field, Chicago Stadium, International Amphitheatre, Soldier Field, and Dyche Stadium in Evanston. Even the old Chicago Coliseum on South Wabash, and the Chicago Avenue Armory.

On Disco Demolition night, I sold 49 cases of beer. Ordinarily, twenty cases was considered an outstanding total for a single night game. Thirty to 35 would be pretty good for a double header. But on that particular night, the long delay following Game One allowed more time for the vendors to peddle beer to a thirsty and drunken crowd, despite the eventual forfeit of Game Two.

There was some danger of accidentally selling to an underage drinker due to the overall pandemonium and the presence of so many teenagers. Fortunately, I was aided by a plainclothes Chicago police officer who was kind enough to stand next to me for about two hours, checking identification while I just continued pouring.

One of my most vivid recollections of the evening is Bill Veeck standing on the field with a microphone begging, "Go back to your seats." The crowd mimicked Bill by chanting repeatedly, "Go back to your seats, hey! Go back to your seats, hey!"

On the way out, I purchased a bootleg T-shirt emblazoned with the legend, "Insane Coho Lips." It completely disintegrated the first time I put it in the washer.


Ahhhh....what a great night for Rock-And-Roll fans in Chicago.......As a sixteen year old Sox fan at the time, I had gotten tickets to the game way beforehand through some promotion and I always chose doubleheaders with my free tickets (more game for the buck).  I had no idea it would be Disco Demolition Night until WLUP started to advertise it in the weeks before.  I drove down to OLD Comiskey with Rob and Phil Stewack (younger neighbors) from Darien and settled in to our box seats along the third base line between the dugout and the bull pen.  I think we were about 20 rows from the field or so....we had great seats (or so we thought)...

When the first game ended, I remember Steve Dahl and Lorelei cruising the edges of the field in a jeep or army truck or something (I think I got a poster of Lorelei that nite too....yummy)...then they piled the records up in center and the whole thing began....absolute mayhem...

The things that really stand out in my mind from that hazy night (pun intended) are :

1.      An elderly man about ten seats toward left field from us had an M-80 blow up just above his head (gift from the upper deck above us).
2.      A woman in a halter top two rows in front of us had a 45 rpm record stuck into her shoulder-blade (another gift from above).
3.      I had a pack of lit firecrackers descend into my lap (a gift from above as well).
4.      A steady stream of  kids going onto the field through our section of box seats, and then a steady stream of them returning the same way with souvenirs (large chunks of the infield and outfield).

We had our programs over our heads the rest of the night and didn't leave until the second game was called (which really sucked for those of us with the best seats of our lives).

I also remember a steady stream of game-crashers coming over the massive chain-link fence into the upper deck in center field.....I knew there had to be about  60,000 or more in the park in between games....

A friend told me later that he had snuck in and was up in the center field walkways throwing empty liquor bottles at cars in the lot below trying to smash windshields......so much for preferred parking!!

I walked away unscathed that night and was glad to have survived to this day,  unlike disco....and Old Comiskey Park....

Go SOX....
Brian Pegg


I was 8 years old at the time and was spending some time at my grandparents house in Muskegon, Michigan. I was supposed to be in bed but had snuck out to watch my beloved Detroit Tigers take on the ChiSox.  During the riot my grandpa caught me and we sat in their living room watching the events unfold. WOW. I had never seen anything like that (and hope to never again) but I am glad that I saw it and can count that among the memories I shared with my grandpa.


I was a nine year old watching the game on TV in my parents room.  It's something I'll never forget and always remember with a laugh!  ps- this site is awesome!

Timothy Moran


My Father and I were sitting in the right field upper deck. I was 16 at the time. I took two of my sisters Bee Gees 45's from home, I think she's still upset. I believe an Andy Fran took the records. The thought that always runs through my mind when people talk about that night is seeing a guy climbing the foul (fair) pole in left field, records being thrown like frisbee's, the
Bee Gee's suck shirts on everyone and goofy Steve Dahl in center field. Smoke filled the park from the explosion. Unfortunately, the second game of the double header was called. What a night, 20 years ago.
 

Chuck.....

P.S. Bee Gee's still suck!


As this could be a long story I am apologizing beforehand. Yes, I was at that "fateful" night. At the time Comiskey Park had one skybox which seated approximately 30 people or so and it so happened thatwe had it on that night, me being an 11 year old (already die-hard) Sox fan going to Comiskey for a doubleheader in the skybox was just about heaven. I remember entering through a side entrance for the press and skybox and my brother noticed all the records and throngs of people outside the park. Anyways, the first game went smooth enough. Then Steve Dahl came out chanting "Disco Sucks" the stadium was shaking  with the chant, then all hell broke loose after the explosion of the records. People stormed onto the field , waves and waves of people at first I was amazed with the magnitude of it; people jumping over the wall records being flung like frisbees all over the place, but the chant continued on When the bonfire in right-center happened, I started to get angry knowing there probably wasn't going to be the second game, however watching the "idiots" jump through the bonfire for what seemed like hours. Anyways after it seemed to die down with Steve saying to the effect we've all had fun now but it's time to stop, and Bill Veeck shaken up trying to get the people to stop, policemen on horseback trying to control the centerfield crowd. To be honest it was the most chaotic experience of my life yet I was more worried about the second game than what was going on on the field. I'm sure I didn't paint the greatest picture of what happened but those are the main memories I have of that evening.


Will never forget it - sitting in front of the television - watching Channel 44 (WSNS-TV).  My wife ( a former Cub Fan) was just starting to learn how it is to be a White Sox fan.  Then Steve Dahl and Disco Demolition happened.  Wow - what a night!  I remember the look on Bill Veecks face when he came out on the field to survey the damage.  I never saw him look so serious.  We knew the second game of the double header would be forfeited by the look on Veecks face.  My wife thought all Sox fans were nuts - had to explain to her that these "fans" weren't true sox fans - just a bunch of nutty kids.  But I have
never see anything like it since.
                                                    Jeff - Ft. Worth


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