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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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October 2, 1969

Posted 05-07-2017 at 04:36 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 06-05-2018 at 07:28 AM by TommyJohn

October 2, 1969
vs. Minnesota Twins
at Metropolitan Stadium

A season of frustration comes to an end on this bright, sunny Thursday afternoon. The opponent is the Minnesota Twins, the newly-crowned American League Western Division champions, whose season will continue later in the week vs. the AL East champ Baltimore Orioles for the right to play in the World Series.

The game is a typical one, insofar as the 1969 Sox go. The team jumps out to a quick 4-1 lead after two and a half innings, only to give all the runs right back. Rookie hurler Danny Lazar is unable to hold the lead and gives way to another rook, frizzy-haired Bart Johnson.

Clair Barth Johnson, who had made his ML debut earlier in the month, gives up only one run in the 7th, but it's a costly one-with a runner on 3rd a Johnson pitch gets by catcher Ed Herrmann, allowing Cesar Tovar to race home with the run that breaks a 5-5 tie.

That is how it ends, with pinch-hitter Luis Aparicio grounding out against Ron Perranoski to bring the season to a merciful close.

The good: For the first time in a long while, the Sox actually have an offense. Walt Williams hits .304 while rookies Bill Melton (23 HRs, 87 RBI, .255 avg.) and Carlos May (18 HRs, 62 RBI, .281 avg) formed an exciting offensive duo. Luis Aparicio had his best year at the plate, hitting .280 while stealing 24 bases. The team hits 112 home runs, only 9th in the 12 team league, but up from 71 the previous year.

The bad: The pitching takes a hit. Joel Horlen (13-16, 3.78 ERA) and Tommy John (9-11, 3.25 ERA) see their ERAs go up by over a run, while Gary Peters (10-15, 4.53 ERA) battles through injury, his ERA taking the biggest hit. In the black hole of the rotation after those three, Billy Wynne goes 7-7 with a 4.06, while Paul Edmondson goes 1-6 but has a respectable ERA of 3.70 and a spot in the rotation for 1970. Overall the team ERA is 4.21, up nearly two runs from 1968 (2.75) and 11th in the 12 team league.

The ugly: The defense is rather porous. Bill Melton commits 22 errors and the team is 2nd in the league overall. The bullpen is a disaster with relievers like Cisco Carlos (5.66 ERA) Gary Bell (6.28) Don Secrist (6.08) and Jack Hamilton (11.68 in 8 games. Yee-ikes) leading the way. Closer Wilbur Wood lends some respectability (10-11, 3.01, 15 saves).

And the ugliest moment of the season, which didn't even take place on the field-May's August Marine Reserve accident in which he lost his thumb, leaving his future in doubt.

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