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In honor of actor Andy Garcia and his (unintentionally) hilarious reaction to Sofia (Mary Corleone) Coppola's death scene in "The Godfather, Part III."
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June 26,1976

Posted 03-23-2018 at 07:25 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 08-18-2019 at 09:30 AM by TommyJohn

June 26,1976
vs. Texas Rangers
at Arlington Stadium

The White Sox always had a collection of "hard luck" pitchers-hurlers who go out to the mound and give up, say, 1 run on three hits only to walk off the field a 1-0 loser. Billy Pierce was the "hard luck" guy in the 1950s, always seeming to come out on the losing end of a 1-0 score. The 1960s saw Joel Horlen and Gary Peters constantly giving up one run and getting either a loss or a no-decision.

Ken Brett got a taste of that culture during this game against the Rangers. Brett, who was filling in for Wilbur Wood quite nicely, entered the game with a 3-1 record and an ERA in the 2.50 range.

He was masterful for nine innings, giving up no runs and a measly three hits and three walks to Texas. This was also a team effort, as Ken only struck out one batter-Tom Grieve went down looking in the bottom of the 5th.

The Sox, however, found themselves completely stymied by Bert Blyleven, unable to push a run across the plate against the Dutchman.

It wasn't for lack of trying. The Sox put runners on base in six of the first nine innings, only to come up empty every time. In the top of the 2nd, they loaded the bases with one out, only to go down when Chet Lemon grounded into a double play.

The top of the 4th saw two Sox reach base on singles. The bad news is they both came with two out, and Jim Essian flew out to end the inning.

By the 7th inning Brett, who had been an excellent hitting pitcher in the National League, must've been itching to grab a bat to help his own cause. The Sox put two on with one out, but Chet Lemon grounded out and Rich Coggins struck out to end that would-be rally. In the 8th inning it was deja vu all over again when the Sox loaded the bases, this time with nobody out. Ken looked like he was finally going to get that badly needed run. That is, until Bucky Dent grounded into a force play at the plate and Jack Brohamer hit a grounder to 1st baseman Mike Hargrove, who fired to catcher Jim Sundberg for a force at the plate. Sundberg then whipped the ball back to Hargrove to get Brohamer to end the inning.

Neither team scored in the 9th, so on to the 10th inning they went. The Sox went down 1-2-3 in their half, so Ken slogged out to the mound to try and keep his shutout going and extend the game at least one more inning.

Toby Harrah smacked a one out single to bring up the always dangerous Jeff Burroughs. Brett uncorked a wild pitch that moved Harrah to 2nd, so Brett intentionally walked Jeff to set up the double play. Pinch-hitter Jim Fregosi had other ideas, lining a single to left field. Harrah bolted around 3rd to score the first and only run of the night. Brett walked off the mound with a 1-0 loss to show for his efforts.

Whether or not Billy Pierce, Joel Horlen or Gary Peters sent Brett a sympathy card after the game is not known.


TRIVIA NOTE: The night before this game the Sox and Rangers split a double header, with the Rangers winning the first game and the Sox taking the nightcap. A noteworthy event in these games involved Texas shortstop Toby Harrah, who set a major league record when he did not handle a single chance, not a putout or assist, in 18 innings of play.
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