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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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July 28,1976

Posted 04-04-2018 at 08:20 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 08-18-2019 at 09:37 AM by TommyJohn

July 28,1976
vs. Oakland A's
at Oakland-Alameda Coliseum

By now, the Sox are in 5th place and heading nowhere in a hum-drum season. They dropped the first two games of this series with the A's going into the finale, when two pitchers managed to inject a little excitement into the woebegone season.

The starter for the evening's game was John "Blue Moon" Odom, former A's veteran and member of their three-time World Series winners, who had been acquired from the Atlanta Braves that June in exchange for catcher and former prospect Pete Varney.

"Blue Moon" was having a rough go the past two seasons. He had gone 1-7 with a 7.07 ERA for Atlanta in 1975 and hadn't played for them at all in 1976 before being swapped to the south side. His time with the Sox was only slightly better, with a 1-0 record and 4.76 ERA after four games.

The Sox struck first in the game, getting an RBI single from Bucky Dent in the top of the 2nd.

Odom, however, seemed to catch a wildness bug, walking five batters in the first three innings. He was particularly off in the 3rd, when he issued three passes but managed to escape unscathed when the first walk was erased on a double play and the other two died on base when Joe Rudi grounded into a force to end the inning.

His walkitis continued in the 4th when he passed Billy Williams to open the inning, then Gene Tenace with one out. Claudell Washington grounded into a force at 2nd with Williams taking 3rd. Washington then broke for 2nd in a steal attempt. Catcher Jim Essian threw the ball into centerfield, allowing Williams to trot home. The A's had tied the game without the benefit of a hit.

Odom got out of the jam, then walked one more batter in the 5th.

Jim Spencer broke the tie with a home run in the top of the 6th, but Odom continued his wild ways in the bottom of the same inning. He again walked Billy Williams to open the frame, then threw ball one to Sal Bando before Paul Richards had finally seen enough. He came out and lifted Odom for Francisco Barrios. Odom departed the game having walked nine and giving up one run. Remarkably, Oakland had yet to register a hit. Of course, it is hard to make contact with the ball when the opposing pitcher is nowhere near the plate.

Barrios walked one batter but got of the inning with no harm done. He set the A's down 1-2-3 in the 7th and 8th. Meanwhile the Sox were unable to dent the plate again against Paul Lindblad or Rollie Fingers. Barrios carried his 2-1 lead and the no-hitter into the 9th.

Sal Bando and Gene Tenace went down for the first two outs. Bando had grounded to Jack Brohamer, who flipped to Spencer to nip Bando by a hair. At least, that's how the umpire saw it. Bando disagreed and argued the call vehemently before storming off to the dugout. Claudell Washington accepted one more walk, the 2nd given up by Barrios and the 11th overall. Ken McMullen then grounded to Bucky Dent, who scooped up the ball and fired to Jim Spencer for the final out. A smiling Barrios walked off the field the proud owner, with Odom, of a combined no-hitter.

The no-hitter was the first one for the White Sox since Joel Horlen's 1967 no-hitter vs. the Tigers. It was also the first no-hitter in the American League since September 28, 1975. Interestingly, that one had also been a combined no-hitter that had featured the A's. In that one, four A's pitchers held the Angels hitless. Two of the pitchers who collaborated on that gem, Lindblad and Fingers, also played in this game, with Lindblad taking the loss.

Barrios later said he wasn't aware of the no-hitter until the 9th inning.

"In the ninth, I look up at scoreboard and see the zero" he told Richard Dozer. "Then I really start to bear down. You see me looking at the ball? I was talking to it. I say 'come on, come on' and we do it."

Odom, who got the ball rolling, was even more excited.

"Who'd have thought I'd get in one of these at age 31? Wow. This was like the World Series. This was the greatest experience I've ever had. It tops them all" he said.

It may not have been pretty, but it was history.

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