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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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Game of the Year 1975

Posted 01-14-2017 at 10:02 AM by TommyJohn
Updated 07-31-2017 at 06:16 AM by TommyJohn

Game of the Year, 1975
September 28 vs. Minnesota Twins
at Metropolitan Stadium

Dick Allen never submitted a formal retirement letter to the White Sox or MLB, so the team put him on the ineligible list (disqualifying him from playing for 60 days, retroactive to his September 14 retirement) then traded him to the Braves. Allen found out about the deal and tried to come back for the Sox, but Roland Hemond told him no dice. The biggest Sox star of the decade was gone.

Ron Santo followed that up by announcing his retirement one week after the Allen trade. In his presser Santo said he was tired of being treated "like a piece of furniture" by the Sox. Santo saw the handwriting on the wall in late June, when manager Tanner had lifted him for a pinch-hitter in a game situation. Santo moved on and waited for his inevitable Hall-of-Fame coronation.

The team went into 1975 shorn of its two biggest names. On April 1st Ed Herrmann was traded to the Yankees (who already had a good catcher, one Thurman Munson) because John Allyn could not afford his salary. The two big pick ups for the season were ex-Dodger left-handed pitcher and Gomer Pyle look-a-like Claude Osteen and former Red and Phillie star Deron Johnson. Both players were well past their primes and were playing the final year of their careers. Osteen would go 7-16 while Johnson would hit .232, but lead the team in home runs with 18.

The optimism of previous Tanner years was absent in 1975. The team was much weaker offensively and the pitching was an eternal question mark.

The 1975 White Sox did have some good players-youngsters like Rich Gossage, Brian Downing and Bucky Dent came into their own this season, while graybeard vet Jim Kaat would be the star of the staff with a 20 win season. Jorge Orta would have a great season at the plate. However, Wilbur Wood's knuckleball was no longer knuckling, oldsters like Osteen and Cecil Upshaw were well past it, and several players, most notably Bill Melton, were angry about the repeated criticisms of broadcaster Harry Caray.

The biggest news of the season was when John Allyn put the team up for sale. The owner tried like hell to make a go of it, but losses totaling $8 million since 1970 forced him to throw in the towel.

The American League stepped in with a solution. The White Sox would be sold and moved to Seattle to settle that city's lawsuit against the league, brought on when the Pilots bolted for Milwaukee after one season. Then the Oakland A's, bleeding money despite being three-peat World Series champions, would move into the south side park and be renamed the White Sox. It was all too simple.

The 1975 Sox had their share of thrilling 9th inning comebacks and fun games, and even had a 9 game winning streak, but it is with the above scenario about to play out that I chose the last game of the season, on 9/28 vs. Minnesota, as the "Game of the Year." I chose it because it came within a whisker of being the final game before the franchise basically ceased to exist, moving on to Seattle.

The game itself wasn't all that exciting. The Sox took two leads, but Minnesota tied them both times, the last time in the 8th. The game went into extras tied at 4. The Sox scored twice, with Pat Kelly driving in Pete Varney with the final run of the season. Dave Hamilton took the mound and retired Steve Braun, Rod Carew and Tony Oliva to close out the season.

Meanwhile, the team was in such dire financial straits that John Allyn very nearly did not meet his last payroll. Dave Condon of the Tribune was more than happy to pack the Sox off and ship them to Seattle in exchange for the A's. Rick Talley of the same paper openly wondered why Sox fans wouldn't want an instant contender like the A's rather than the team many fans had grown up with and to which they had formed an emotional attachment. The sun looked about to set on the White Sox as a Chicago team.

Enter Bill Veeck.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/bo...97509280.shtml
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