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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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September 12,1976

Posted 04-14-2018 at 07:38 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 08-18-2019 at 09:56 AM by TommyJohn

September 12,1976
vs. California Angels
at Comiskey Park

September came and the White Sox looked well on their way to a losing season. Bill Veeck tried to keep things interesting and fun with his variety of promotions. He saved one of his favorites for after September 1, when teams were allowed to expand their rosters. Veeck announced that Minnie Minoso would be activated to put in a few appearances as a designated hitter.

Minnie had, in his day, been a pioneer. When he made his White Sox debut on May 1, 1951 he became the first black player for either Chicago baseball team. He was one of the most popular players in the history of the franchise, so much so that when he was traded before the 1958 season, angry fans responded by staying away. The Sox had their lowest attendance of the decade that year. Minnie had three stints with the team: 1951-57, 1960-61 and 1964. After his major league career ended he kept busy as a player-coach in the Mexican League. When Veeck purchased the Sox he brought Minnie back as a coach. Minnie would come back as a player against the Angels during a weekend series.

The series started off on the wrong foot on Friday night, when Nolan Ryan struck out 18 White Sox batters, including the last five in a row. He fell 1 short of tying the major league record for strikeouts in one game held by three pitchers-Steve Carlton, Tom Seaver and himself. Impatient Sox fans chanted "we want Minnie!" during the game, which perhaps said a lot about the 1976 Sox.

Minnie played his first game on Saturday, stepping in against rookie Frank Tanana. Fans responded with a standing ovation, Tanana responded by striking out Minoso on three pitches. Minnie went hitless as the Sox lost.

After the game, Minnie touched reporters when he poignantly told them "I dedicate my first at-bat to my friend Nellie Fox," referring to the Sox 2nd baseman and Minnie teammate who had died the previous December.

Tanana, for his part, sneered at Minoso and the Sox. The insufferably arrogant hurler called the Sox a "donkey team." For the record, Minoso in his career hit home runs off pitchers Early Wynn, Jim Bunning, Bob Lemon, Bob Feller and Whitey Ford, all members of the Hall of Fame-a place that Tanana will never be unless he buys a ticket.

The next day Minoso played again, this time against Sid Monge. He was again greeted with a standing ovation in his first at-bat, and this time responded by cracking a base hit on Monge's first pitch.

At the time, the game was tied 1-1. It remained that way until the bottom of the 10th, when Monge faced exactly two batters. Jim Spencer drew a walk and gave way to pinch runner Ralph Garr. Brian Downing then swatted a double to score Garr and end the game.

Minnie walked away from the series the owner of a few records. He was, at age 53, the oldest non-pitcher to appear in a major league game and the oldest to get a hit. He also became the 13th player to appear in games across four decades.
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