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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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August 10 & 11,1972

Posted 09-17-2017 at 04:04 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 06-25-2018 at 09:15 PM by TommyJohn

August 10 & 11,1972
vs. Oakland A's
at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

By now the White Sox were the surprise of baseball. Their hot pursuit of the Oakland A's astounded many observers. It wasn't supposed to be this way. Oakland was supposed to win the AL West going away, as they had done last year. The other teams were, at best, going to offer only token opposition.

By mid-July, the A's appeared ready to pull away from the pack. On July 18 the upstart White Sox, who had been nipping at their heels, fell to 8 1/2 games back. This was more like it.

Suddenly, though, things began to happen. Over the next three weeks, the White Sox caught fire, going 15-4 over their next 19 games. In the same span of time Oakland is 9-13. The Sox close the gap from 8 1/2 games to 1 going into this series in Oakland.

Sports Illustrated, for one, is ecstatic with this development. A writer for the magazine praises the White Sox for injecting new life into a division that had been stagnating. In the first three years of the AL West, the Twins (1969-70) and A's (1971) had won the division in a cakewalk-with the other teams offering little resistance-only to be brushed aside in the playoffs by the three-time defending AL Champion Orioles, who were at this point undefeated (9-0) in ALCS play. SI finds the race between the Sox and A's refreshing.

Game 1 is one of the games of the decade. The Sox draw first blood with two runs in the 2nd; the second of which is driven in by that night's starter Tom Bradley.

Bradley holds the A's scoreless while his mound opponent Ken Holtzman settles down. In the 8th the A's strike against reliever Terry Forster. A single, triple and a wild pitch tie the game.

The two teams go on to the 13th, when the Sox take a 3-2 lead when A's pitcher Bob Locker uncorks a wild pitch with the bases loaded. Steve Kealey, however, is unable to hold the lead.

The teams battle for 17 innings before the game is halted at 1AM by the AL curfew.

They resume the next day before the start of the regularly scheduled game with Catfish Hunter and Stan Bahnsen taking the mound. The game goes on into the 19th before Bert Campaneris bunts his way on base. With one out Joe Rudi takes Bahnsen deep. The ball is gone for a two run homer and the A's emerge 5-3 winners.

Forty players are used in the contest, 21 by Oakland and 19 by the Sox The game itself takes 5 hours and 31 minutes to complete.


The Sox are anything but distraught after their 5-3, 19-inning loss. They shake it off and go out for the regularly scheduled game.

Bahnsen was to start the game, but after he serves up Rudi's blast to end the suspended game, Tanner opts instead for Dave Lemonds.The rookie responds with the game of his life, allowing 2 hits and no runs over 6 2/3 innings.

The Sox give Lemonds all the support he needs in the 1st, when Pat Kelly singles, steals 2nd, and proceeds to score on Carlos May's two out single.

Cy Acosta comes in for Lemonds in the bottom of the 7th and picks up where the starter left off, keeping the A's scoreless. The small reliever sets Sal Bando, Joe Rudi and Mike Epstein down in the 9th to end it. The Sox emerge 1-0 winners and are now 1 game in back of the mighty, Swingin' A's.


Wilbur Wood and Blue Moon Odom lock up in another thriller on the 12th that goes into overtime. This one goes 11 innings before Ed Spiezio, Melton's replacement at 3rd, hits a 2 run homer to propel the Sox to a 3-1 win. Wood gets his 20th win and the Sox are now in 1st place by .001 of a percentage point. (See; Game of the Year, 1972).

Oakland gets the next one, however, with Vida Blue shutting the Sox down and out. The Sox leave Oakland at 62-46, 1 game back, breathing down the A's neck and in no mood to give up just yet.
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