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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 19,1977

Posted 05-02-2018 at 10:09 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 05-25-2018 at 11:43 PM by TommyJohn

June 19,1977
vs. Oakland A's
at Comiskey Park

Say! Remember the Oakland A's? You know, the team Dave Condon campaigned to have moved to Chicago for 1976? The "champions with mustaches" that Rick Talley sneered at Sox fans for not wanting to move to the south side to replace the Seattle-bound White Sox, who had been there for 75 years? They came to town Father's Day weekend with a record of 28-31, down in 6th place, ahead of only the expansion Seattle Mariners. The talent that had won them three consecutive World Series titles was now scattered throughout baseball, thanks to free agency. The players had been so desperate to get away from Oakland and Finley that they held a champagne party for themselves on the last day of the 1976 season. The only star they had on the roster was the fading Dick Allen, who had been desperate to work for Finley.

Meanwhile, Veeck’s Wrecks™ (Bob Verdi) were in 2nd place at 32-27, 3 games in back of Minnesota.

The Sox took the opener on Saturday 2-0. Chet Lemon made a spectacular, game-saving catch and Dick Allen got a loud cheer from Sox fans when he came to the plate. It was the first shutout of the year from Sox pitching.

The next day, Father's Day, was a scheduled doubleheader. Sox 1st baseman Lamar Johnson led off the festivities by singing the National Anthem a capella, doing a good job. His performance during the 1st game was even better.

Wilbur Wood took the mound still questing for his first win since the fateful Mother's Day when he went down in Detroit. His mound opponent would be Mike Norris, who sported a record of 2-1.

The Sox struck first in the 2nd inning, when Lamar stepped to the plate and cranked a two-out solo home run for the first run of the game.

The A's came back to tie it in the 5th, thanks to some sloppy fielding by Jorge Orta and Eric Soderholm. They had the bases loaded with no out when Rob Picciolo rapped a long fly to centerfield. Chet Lemon hauled it in and Earl Williams trotted in from 3rd base to put the A's up 2-1.

Or did he? Soderholm, he of the error that had allowed Oakland to score the tying run, alertly noticed that Williams had left the base too soon. He hollered for the ball. Wilbur Wood tossed it to him and Sod tagged 3rd. Williams was called out on appeal. Rodney Scott then popped out to end the inning.

Lamar Johnson, whose home run accounted for the only Sox run and hit of the game, led off the bottom of the 5th and once again took Norris deep for his second round tripper of the game.

In the 6th inning Wood had a bit of luck behind him again. He loaded the bases with one out to bring up Earl Williams, who continued his bad luck streak by bouncing into an inning-ending double play.

Sox bats remained silent again until the 7th, when Johnson stepped up and rapped a double off A's reliever Rob Lacey.

And that would be it as far as offense was concerned. Wood took his lead into the 9th and walked the leadoff batter. He was relieved with Lerrin LaGrow, who stepped in against Earl Williams. Once again, the hapless Williams grounded into a double play, the third one he had been involved in on the day. Mitchell Page then struck out to end it.

The stories of game 1 were Wood and Johnson. Wood went 8 innings, allowed seven hits and one run, with the defense helping him out of two jams. Johnson, meanwhile, had the exact opposite day as Earl Williams. His two home runs and one double were the only three Sox hits of the game. To tie things up in a neat bow, his 4 and 7 year old kids were on hand to see dad sing the Anthem and be the star of the game.

The Sox went out and took game 2 5-1 thanks to a four run 4th inning that featured a solo home run by Jorge Orta and RBI hits from Kevin Bell and Brian Downing. The win put the Sox in a virtual tie with the Twins for 1st place.

One event that would turn out to be significant occurred in the top of the 7th. Dick Allen stepped in as a pinch-hitter against Francisco Barrios. The Sox hurler struck Allen out to end the inning. Dick walked back to the A's dugout, done for the day.

The next night Charlie Finley came down to the visitor's clubhouse in the 6th inning to check up on his team. He found Allen inside, taking a shower. An enraged Finley called in manager Bobby Winkles to yell about it, then later announced that Allen was suspended for a week. Allen, who explained that he was showering because he had been on the bench and Winkles told him he wouldn't be used that night, did not return to the club after Finley lifted the suspension. He chose to retire from baseball. The June 19 at-bat against Barrios proved to be the final appearance of his 15 year career.
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