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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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September 25,1976

Posted 04-16-2018 at 06:34 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 08-18-2019 at 09:56 AM by TommyJohn

September 25,1976
vs. Oakland A's
at Comiskey Park

The White Sox swept a doubleheader from the Royals on the 13th to stand at 63-82 and resting comfortably in last place, which they had taken over on August 31. They hit the skids from there, losing their next nine in a row. A 4-2 win over the A's, who were in 2nd place and fighting to catch the Royals, ended the skein.

The next night was "Bill Veeck Appreciation Night" at Comiskey Park, done to honor the man who had saved the White Sox for Chicago. It was also to honor the 50th anniversary of his first job in baseball.

The honorific was not Veeck's idea, lest anyone think him immodest. In fact, his son Mike said that his father would have to be dragged onto the field to accept the honors that would be presented to him. It was actually the idea of a group of fans, led by a man named Emmet O'Neill, to organize and throw the party. Baseball luminaries like Bob Feller and Charlie Finley were invited to participate, and Max Patkin agreed to come in and provide some laughs.

I would like to write more about this event, but I can't, mainly because the Sunday Tribune for September 26 does not contain a sports section or any information about it at all. The only tidbit I can provide offhand comes from Richard Lindberg, who wrote in "Who's On Third?" that Veeck pledged to the fans that night that the Sox would be back.

O'Neill was quoted by Dave Condon about the possibility of filling the park for Veeck Night with 55,000 people. No one knows what O'Neill was inhaling when he arrived at that figure, but the attendance that night was 17,298, just shy of 55,000.

The game itself provided only a few thrills. Claudell Washington opened the scoring with a three run home run off Rich Gossage in the 2nd. Sal Bando added an RBI triple in the 3rd to make it 4-0.

The Sox battled back with a single run in the bottom of the 3rd and 3 in the 4th to tie the game; the big hits were RBI singles by Bucky Dent and Jim Essian.

The A's needed a win to stay alive in the AL West race, and they were not to be denied. Solo home runs by Ron Fairly in the 7th and Don Baylor in the 8th staked Oakland to a 6-4 lead. Fairly struck again in the 9th, driving in the A's 7th run with a single. All 7 runs were given up by Gossage, who finally gave way to Pete Vukovich after Fairly's hit. Rollie Fingers nailed down the win with a 1-2-3 9th.

The game wound up being the White Sox' final home game of 1976. Cold, rainy weather forced a postponement of the Sunday home finale against the A's. Because Oakland was in a fight for the AL West title, the game was tentatively rescheduled for the day after the season ended. However, the A's lost to the Angels on October 1, reducing the Royals' Magic Number to zero and ending the A's run at five straight division titles; a streak that also saw them win three World Series in a row from 1972-74.

The cancellation of the game left the White Sox holding the bag, or bags, as it were. It was "Fan Appreciation Day" and the Sox were all set to give out 15,000 grab bags to the fans that showed up. Prizes in the bags included helmets, jackets, baseball cards, comic books, pieces of the old astroturf infield and a flexible record containing Comiskey Park's newest smash hit "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" with Nancy Faust on the organ and Harry Caray handling the vocals.

The Sox did announce that day that Harry was signed for the 1977 season along with his latest partner Lorn Brown, who had done a fine job after replacing J.C. Martin.

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