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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 17-18,1976

Posted 03-15-2018 at 08:53 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 10-13-2019 at 12:10 PM by TommyJohn

May 17-18,1976
vs. California Angels
at Comiskey Park

Two names from earlier in the decade starred in the games played in Comiskey on back-to-back nights-one no longer with the Sox, the other trying to come back from injury.

The big story with the first game was Bill Melton's return. The former Sox 3rd baseman and franchise home run king would be making his first visit back to the south side since the trade that sent him to the Angels.

Bill and the Angels made the most of it. They jumped on the Sox' Jesse Jefferson, making his first start of the season, for five runs in the first two innings.

Melton contributed to the scoring in the 1st. Bobby Bonds drove in the night's first run with a single, advanced to 2nd, then 3rd on an error and a passed ball, then scored on a Jefferson wild pitch. Melton then drove in Bruce Bochte with a single.

It was more of the same in the 2nd when the Angels widened their lead to 5-0. Melton then struck in the 3rd when he tripled home Bochte for his second RBI of the night.

Melty continued to swing a hot bat when he drove in his third run of the night in the 6th. It was one of three run-scoring hits for the Angels as they widened their lead to 10-0.

Rookie Frank Tanana pitched well until the 8th, when he surrendered a two run home run to Chet Lemon. It was rookie Lemon's first career home run. The Sox poured three more on in the 9th, but it was too little, too late. Tanana bore down and got out of the inning to get the complete game win.

Frank Lane, the ex-Sox GM now with the Angels, asked Melton after the game if he had dedicated the hits to Harry Caray.

"I dedicated them to myself" Melton said. "I needed them."

Caray had asked Melton to be on his pre-game show, but the new Angel blew him off. Reporters asked Melton about Caray after the game, but he refused the bait.

"We're not friends" Melton told them. "I don't have to worry about Harry. Just come in three times a year and try to make a living." Melton also stated that he had no "vendetta" against the Sox and he was happy to see his old teammates.

The loss knocked the Sox down to 9-16.


It was Bart Johnson's turn to shine the next night. Bart was having a rough go coming back from his injury. So far on the season he was 1-4 with an ungodly 10.80 ERA. This night he would go up against Nolan Ryan.

Bart showed he was more than up to the task. He cut through the Angels lineup like butter, giving up only three hits. The Sox meanwhile, gave him all he needed in the 2nd inning, when Bucky Dent drove home a run with a single and Pat Kelly lashed a bases loaded double that drove in three to give the Sox a 4-0 lead. Bucky Dent drove in another with a 3rd inning double.

Johnson went the distance in the game, setting the Angels down in the 9th to seal the complete game shutout. With the injury to Wood and the bad performance of Jefferson the night before, Johnson's game offered a ray of hope.


On the same day as Johnson's game, Roland Hemond and Bill Veeck were also at work. They were in a desperate search for someone to fill Wood's spot in the rotation and were looking for one in trade. Good pitching is hard to find once the season starts, but somehow, they pulled it off. The Sox acquired pitcher Ken Brett and outfielder Rich Coggins from the Yankees in exchange for Carlos May.

May was gone from the team after having been a fixture in the lineup for 8 years. The last two and half seasons had not been kind to Carlos-he had had two subpar years after his All-Star season in 1973, and so far was batting only .175 with 3 RBI in 1976.

May's time with the team, like Melton's, is one that improves with age. Beloved by many current Sox fans, he was criticized by many Sox fans during his playing years for what they sometimes perceived to be lazy, indifferent play-especially on defense.

Ken Brett had broken in with Boston in 1967 and was now on his 6th team in 9 years. He was known for being a good hitting pitcher and was also fast becoming "the other Brett" now that his little brother George was a breakout hitting star with the Kansas City Royals.

Ken came to the Sox as slightly damaged goods, having nursed a sore arm over parts of the past two seasons. Nevertheless, Paul Richards announced that Brett would be
joining the starting rotation immediately.
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