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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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August 14,1976

Posted 04-08-2018 at 09:01 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 08-18-2019 at 10:55 AM by TommyJohn

August 14,1976
vs. Baltimore Orioles
at Baltimore Memorial Stadium

The world is still recovering from the sight of a baseball team in shorts when the Sox go out to Baltimore for a four game weekend series. The Sox win the first game going into a Saturday doubleheader.

Game 1 appears to be no contest when the Orioles slam Sox pitcher Terry Forster for 8 runs; the big blows are a two run 1st inning home run by Reggie Jackson and a 2nd inning grand slam by Lee May.

The Sox stage a comeback with three runs in the 5th and one in the 6th. They get closer in the 9th when Jerry Hairston singles with one out and two on to drive in one run and Bill Stein doubles in another run to make it 8-6. However, with the tying run perched on base, both Jack Brohamer and Chet Lemon fly out to end the game in favor of the Orioles.

Ken Brett took the mound for game 2 and caused some sparks to fly.

The Sox got off to a hot start, chasing starter Mike Flanagan with four runs in the top of the 1st. Baltimore got two back in the bottom of the 2nd when light-hitting shortstop Mark Belanger ripped a two out, two run single.

Things started to get a little hairy when Reggie Jackson came up in the 5th with the bases loaded. Brett threw in close to Reggie, who had to duck out of the way. Jackson had been hit in the first game, and Brett's close pitch enraged him. Three weeks earlier Jackson had been smashed in the face by a pitch from Dock Ellis, who was retaliating for when Jackson had hit a towering home run off him and showboated around the bases...five years earlier, in the 1971 All-Star game.

Brett fired another pitch plateward and Jackson blasted a drive that cleared the center field fence for a game-breaking grand slam that gave the Orioles the lead. Not content to simply trot around the bases, Jackson yelled, swore and shook his fist at Brett.

Jackson's drive finished Brett for the game and he was relieved by Clay Carroll, who had made a mental note of Jackson's actions after the grand slam. When Reggie came up again in the 7th, Carroll put another one under the slugger's chin, just to let him know that he (Carroll) sternly disapproved of Reggie's shenanigans. On the next pitch, Jackson let go of the bat and charged out to the mound. Jim Essian intercepted Jackson and tackled him, but by that time both benches were clearing and the fight was on.

The fight ended with both Jackson and Lamar Johnson being ejected from the game. Baltimore hung on to win 6-5, but the Jackson drama wasn't over yet.

After the games Jackson went back to the hotel where he was staying, which happened to be the White Sox' hotel. There, he was met in the lobby by an angry Harry Caray, who confronted Jackson over what had happened earlier.

"You call yourself a superstar? That was a bush exhibition you put on!" Harry yelled, among other things.

Jackson and Caray went nose-to-nose and continued to yell at each other, with Reggie explaining that it all stemmed from the pitch Dock Ellis had thrown.

"He tried to get me to come up to the room to see pictures of how his face looked after Ellis hit him" Harry later said. "I said to hell with that. And if he was so mad at Dock Ellis, why take it out on the White Sox?"

The next morning Ken Brett was awakened by a call to his room. It was Jackson, once again explaining that what happened all stemmed from the Ellis pitch.

"I told him I didn't throw that pitch, Dock Ellis did. And he said anytime anyone throws at him, there's gonna be a fight." Brett said, adding "I told him if I wanted to hit him, I'd have hit him. And I could've hurt him, too."

Home plate umpire Don Denkinger said he didn't think any suspensions were warranted, and neither he nor crew chief Marty Springstead thought that the pitches were as close as Jackson had made them look by falling away from them.

Whatever the case, all the macho posturing still added up to a doubleheader loss for the White Sox.

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