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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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May 22,1977

Posted 04-27-2018 at 11:09 PM by TommyJohn

May 22,1977
vs. Detroit Tigers
at Comiskey Park

Wilbur Wood took the mound this Sunday afternoon for his first start since May 9 of the previous year, when he had his knee shattered by a line drive. The competition would be the very same Tigers club against whom that had happened. The results were just as pretty.

It was Bat Day at Comiskey Park, and a crowd of 31,030 came out for it. Not as much as recent years, like the 51,094 who turned out in 1972. Like that day in 1972, a slugger named Richie would grab the spotlight. Unlike 1972, when Richie Allen capped a sweep with a pinch, bottom of the 9th home run, Richie Zisk's feat would come in a losing effort.

The Tigers jumped on Wood right away, blasting him for four runs in the top of the 1st. Steve Kemp knocked in the first run when he stepped up with two men on and whacked a single. Jason Thompson followed that up by smacking a three run home run.

The Tigers struck again in the 2nd. Bob Lemon realized Wood didn't have it and excused him after he walked the first two batters of the inning. Bruce Dal Canton came on and promptly gave up a two run double to Rusty Staub. Jason Thompson then hit a drive to left field that Ralph Garr misjudged. The ball was blown over his head by the wind to score Staub. Thompson wound up on 3rd with a triple.

Alan Bannister's 5th inning single scored Eric Soderholm to put the Sox on the board, but the Tigers struck back with two more in the top of the 6th.

Oscar Gamble gave the crowd something to cheer about in the bottom of the 6th when he bashed a drive deep to right center field that ended its journey in the upper deck.

More Sox fielding follies abounded in the 7th when, with a runner on 2nd, Eric Soderholm fumbled Tito Fuentes' grounder to put two men on. Rusty Staub singled to score one run and a walk loaded the bases. Jason Thompson then lofted a weak flyball to shallow left field that Garr took his sweet time getting to. When he saw Alan Bannister running with his back to the plate for the ball, Garr for some reason backed away from it rather than call the shortstop off the ball. Bannister made an over the shoulder catch. The awkward position the catch left Bannister in enabled Fuentes to dash home from 3rd to score on a rare sacrifice fly to an infielder. Milt May singled home two more runs to make it 13-2.

The game was obviously quite well in hand when Richie Zisk led off the bottom of the 8th against Dave Rozema. Zisk took a Rozema offering and boomed a high arcing drive deep to centerfield. Mickey Stanley went back for it, as Zisk had been able to nail hits to deep centerfield, but this shot looked to be headed to the moon. It didn't quite make it that far, coming in for a landing in the first couple rows of the centerfield bleachers, a thunderous blast of about 450 feet. Zisk trotted the bases to an awed reaction from the crowd and the salute of the scoreboard. Richie's drive was the first home run to land out there since Dick Allen reached the bleachers in 1972. The two home runs could not have been any more different-Allen's had been a laser shot, reaching the seats in a few seconds. Zisk's had been a high, majestic drive, the type of home run that inspires poetry.

Zisk's homer was the 5th in the 67 year history of the park to make it out that far. Besides Allen, the others to reach the bleachers had been Jimmie Foxx in 1934, Hank Greenberg in 1938 and Alex Johnson in 1970.

The Tigers tacked on one more run to take a 14-3 win and left Comiskey Park with a three game sweep. The loss left the Sox 22-15.

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