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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 8-9,1974

Posted 12-24-2017 at 01:23 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 07-05-2018 at 07:28 PM by TommyJohn

June 8-9,1974
vs. Boston Red Sox
at White Sox Park

Ron Santo was displeased. If the union between the North Side icon and the South Side team could be likened to a marriage, then Ronnie at this point was sleeping on the couch.

It didn't start out this way. At first all was love and happiness, as is the case with newlywed couples. Ron boasted about the camaraderie of the team, how they made him feel welcome, the leadership of Dick Allen, the managerial skills of Chuck Tanner and just how happy he was to be there.

The heat of the new relationship began to cool when Ron lost out the 3rd base job to Bill Melton, the Sox incumbent from 1973. Ron was relegated to the designated hitter position-only in its second year of existence and carrying a stigma amongst players as the graveyard position for fading veterans. "I don't mind!" Ron said.

Then came Tanner's decision to squeeze Santo into the lineup by playing him out of position at second base. What?? Why on earth was a nine-time All-Star Gold Glove 3rd baseman being forced to play out of position? Ron asked himself this question many times.

His displeasure reflected in his play. By early June, he was the proud owner of one home run (off Jim Palmer in April) and a .236 average. At a roast of Chuck Tanner, columnist Bill Gleason got in a shot in which he compared Ron Santo to Al Weis, a notoriously poor-hitting White Sox middle infielder from the 1960s. Then came the final indignity. Just before the June 4 game vs. New York, Santo was benched.

Santo responded by working with hitting coach Deacon Jones and getting a few helpful tips from roving instructor Jim Mahoney. The results were that for two days Sox fans got a glimpse of the Ron Santo that Cub fans had watched for the past 13 years.

The Sox destroyed Boston 13-6 on the 8th, with the Sox lineup finally acting like the Murderers' Row that fans had expected before the season. The big inning was the 6th, when the White Sox, trailing 4-3, put up 7 big ones.

The first blow came when Dick Allen hammered a double that scored two runs. Bill Melton and Ken Henderson walked to load them up for Ron, who proceeded to crush a grand slam. It was only his second home run of the season, and in hitting it he entered the Chicago baseball history books alongside Phil Cavarretta and Johnny Callison as players who have hit grand slams for both the Cubs and White Sox.


The next night Ron doubled his pleasure and doubled Sox fans' fun.

Dick Allen, still swinging a blazing hot bat in June, got things started in the 1st. Santo singled to bring up Allen, who smashed a two-run homer, the 300th of his career.

Unfortunately, pitcher Skip Pitlock wasn't on this night. The Sox were already losing at the time of Allen's home run after the Red Sox hammered Pitlock for 4 runs in the top of the 1st.

In the bottom of the 5th with the Sox trailing 4-2, Santo struck again. He socked a drive to left field. Tommy Harper ran back and leaped for it. Harper missed and conked his head against the wall. He dropped like a rock, stunned. Santo meanwhile motored around the bases for an inside-the-park home run, the first of his career.

He wasn't finished. In the bottom of the 7th with the Sox trailing 9-3 with Ed Herrmann on base, Santo blasted another drive that cleared the 375 foot mark in left-center with room to spare. Both home runs came off Boston lefty/attention whore Bill Lee.

They wound up losing the game 10-6, but after these two games Ronnie seemed reborn and ready to help lead the White Sox.

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