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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 7,1974

Posted 12-24-2017 at 02:18 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 04-23-2019 at 01:50 PM by TommyJohn

June 7,1974
vs. Boston Red Sox
at White Sox Park

Whenever a relief pitcher enters a critical, late inning situation-say, one out, his team up by one run but with the bases loaded and the other team threatening to blow the game open-and gets out of the jam, he is said to have "put out the fire." There was a fire put out in the 8th inning of this game, but the save didn't go to Terry Forster, Rich Gossage or any other member of the Sox bullpen; nor does it appear in the baseball record books. Credit for this "save" goes to the Chicago Fire Department.

The Sox trailed Boston 1-0 in the 3rd when they scored a four spot, the last three coming in on a tremendous blast into the left field upper deck by Dick Allen, a shot of over 400 feet. However, rookie pitcher Joe Henderson, making his major league debut for the Sox, could not hold it, giving up three runs in the 5th before exiting. Bill Moran and Jim Kaat followed and gave up the lead.

The White Sox got three in the bottom of the 5th to re-take the lead and, reaching back to their roots, scored them all without the benefit of a hit. Pitcher Rogelio Moret walked the bases loaded before Bucky Dent reached on a run-scoring error. Jorge Orta then walked in another run and Moret whipped a wild pitch past Carlos May to score another. Finally, Diego Segui came in for Boston and put out the fire. Um, so to speak.

The White Sox led the Red Sox 8-6 with one out in the top of the 8th when the next fire started. This time literally.

It started in a concession area beneath the stands on the first base side. A bundle of paper bags fell onto a gas burner that was part of a popcorn machine. The paper ignited and soon the whole machine was on fire. The crowd and players watched first in amusement then surprise as large clouds of black smoke billowed out from under the stands. It was so thick that the light towers were obscured. Sox officials had no choice but to let fans in the area of the fire onto the field to escape the smoke and heat.

This probably made more than a few people nervous for two reasons-incidents of fan rowdiness were on the upswing, and the Sox were not spared, what with the twin black eyes of Opening Day and Seat Cushion Night. Also, the Ten Cent Beer Night riot had occurred in Cleveland only three nights earlier.

This crowd did not have destructive or violent intent, though. They just milled around the field as the sound of wailing fire truck sirens drew closer to the ballpark. Harry Caray mentioned a few kids on the field joyfully sliding into the bases. Meanwhile, Channel 44 flashed a graphic reading "FIRE DELAY."

The fire department arrived and fought the blaze for close to an hour. 75 firefighters and 22 pieces of equipment were required to finally put the fire out.

Once the smoke was cleared and the fans let back in the stands, it was discovered that someone had stolen second base-literally. PA announcer Bob Finnegan, perhaps thinking about Cleveland and Ten Cent Beer Night, told the crowd to be proud that they left the field in playing condition. The crowd cheered as the scoreboard was set off in celebration.

In total, the fire delayed the game for 70 minutes and 14 fans were later taken to Mercy Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. The Red Sox offered no resistance afterward, going down 1-2-3 in the 9th to give the White Sox the 8-6 win.
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