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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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He's not wild about Harry

Posted 02-15-2018 at 08:07 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 02-18-2018 at 07:23 PM by TommyJohn

He's Not Wild About Harry

Bill Melton had had a bad year in 1974. He started the season in a slump and at one point in June his average had dropped to .199. He was among the favorite targets of broadcaster Harry Caray. At the end of the season he admitted that he was upset that the Sox had traded for Ron Santo and wanted out. He then revealed that he had played "horsefeathers" until June hoping to force a trade. The admission did not endear him to Sox fans.

By this point in 1975 Melton was having the same kind of year. His average was hovering around the .230 mark and he had all of 9 home runs. Caray was on him again as were the fans. The boo birds took nest in White Sox Park and made him a favorite target.

Bill's frustration hit its peak in the Milwaukee series just before the All-Star break. In a July 12 game, Melton was on 1st and Deron Johnson on 2nd when Bucky Dent slapped a base hit. Old man Johnson managed to tear around 3rd and score, but Melton hesitated and stopped at 2nd. Dent didn't realize Melton had stopped and got hung up between 1st and 2nd. The Brewers tagged Dent out to end a Sox rally. Caray felt that Melton hadn't been hustling on the play. Most announcers would have noted that perceived lack of hustle and moved on, but Harry carried on as if Melton's baserunning blunder was causing a breakdown in US-Soviet relations.

Melton found out about Caray's remarks and was angry. The next day, in the lobby of the Marc Plaza hotel, the two got into a shouting match that Melton says was prompted by Caray approaching him and asking "is little sweetheart Billy upset about something?"

Days later Tribune columnist Gary Deeb wrote an article in support of Caray. He called Caray "a courageous teller of truths." "Any man who identifies Chuck Tanner as a mediocre manager is a clear-headed judge of professional character in my book." Deeb wrote. He then blasted "my deepest sympathies to Melton. He works for a paltry $100,000 a year, is hitting a solid .230 and has stroked all of nine homers. So what if he sleepwalks on the basepaths once in a while?" He then gave Caray a platform to cut loose.

"It's ridiculous how spoiled this guy is" Caray said. "He's havin' another lousy year and yet he can't understand why anybody would point out that he's goin' horsebleep.

"Last year Melton's excuse for not playin' well is that it was Ron Santo's fault. Then he got ticked off at Tanner's special favors to Richie Allen. Now this year he's goin' horsebleep again, and so this time it's Harry Caray's fault." Caray said before concluding that if a guy was going to make $100,000 and was supposed to be the big home run-RBI guy, it was tough not to be critical if he was having a bad year.

Melton saw Caray's remarks and went on a rant of his own.

"There are 25 guys on the team that are sick and tired of him" Melton fumed. He also said "I have no excuses for hitting .230 and he has every right to mention that on the air. But when he tells people every night and now in print that I'm not hustling, that's going too far."

"The people of Chicago are down on me now, but I just want to let them know that I'm trying. I'm not trying to pop up, Im not trying to strike out, I'm not trying to get traded. But if I was, the reason I'd be happiest to leave is because of the man upstairs." (Meaning Harry Caray, not God; although in Harry's mind the lines separating the two were probably blurred by this point).

Melton concluded his rant by saying he wasn't going to carry on every day about it. "He's not worth it."

Caray brushed off Melton's remarks that 25 guys on the team were uptight and unable to perform because they were so wound up by Caray's criticisms by asking "How come Bucky Dent is doing so well? And Pat Kelly? And Jorge Orta? And Brian Downing?"

The Caray vs. Melton and Caray vs. the White Sox didn't conclude here, though and would continue to play out over the course of the season.
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