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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 28,1973

Posted 11-05-2017 at 10:20 AM by TommyJohn
Updated 06-25-2018 at 10:39 PM by TommyJohn

June 28,1973
vs. California Angels
at Anaheim Stadium

"These are the times that try men's souls..."

It is at this point of writing about the 1973 season that I feel I should be like some "long-suffering" fans of teams that have gone oh, so long without winning it all and have suffered the cruel miseries and caprices of fate along the way. I want to look to the sky and wonder if there is a sentient being out there, in the many-starred cosmos, and if He sits at the known limit of the universe 13 billion light-years away and keeps a watchful eye on our tiny little blue speck of sand in the infinite beach of outer space. If He does, does He look upon the seven billion microbes upon that speck and single out the followers of my team (and me in particular) to tease and torment? Does He (or She, for that matter. Or They) have something against us? Against me? Does HeSheThey delight in building us up, only to yank the rug out from under us and cruelly break our hearts? Is it all a joke? Why, universe, WHY? What have we done to deserve such suffering? Does being a Chicago White Sox fan have any meeting at all? Does LIFE have any meaning?

After my ruminations, I will then pat myself on the back and congratulate myself for sticking with my team and bearing the burden my parents laid upon my noble shoulders at my birth, nay, at my very conception, notwithstanding the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. I will encourage my fellow fans to do the same, but as an afterthought, as this is mostly about me. This will serve the dual purpose of making me feel really special and showcasing my awesome writing skillz.

The incident prompting my philosophical thoughts on life, God, the universe and how being a Sox fan fits into the Grand Scheme of It All happened in the bottom of the 6th of this game against the Angels.

The Sox going into this one have hit some bumps. They are 36-32, or 9-17 since their blazing 27-15 jump out of the gate. Still, they sit only 1 1/2 games out of 1st in a division which hasn't seen any teams assert themselves thus far. Only 2 games separate 1st and 5th place.

Mike Epstein of the Angels stepped in against Steve Stone, who was nursing a 2-0 lead. He hit a hot smash to Bill Melton, who had a hard time fielding it, then hurried his throw, which was high. Dick Allen wandered into the baseline and leaped up to haul down the bad throw. He was right in the runner's path and Epstein was unable to slam on the brakes, plowing right into Allen and knocking him to the ground.

Allen was attended by trainer Charlie Saad and finished the inning, but withdrew from the game and was replaced by Tony Muser.

The Sox won the game 2-0 to move 1 game out of 1st, which was taken over that night by the A's.

The worst news happened later, when the Sox announced that the 1972 AL MVP, reigning home run champion and franchise savior, had sustained a fractured fibula in his left leg and could be gone for as long as five weeks. Allen had been the main reason the team had come back from the dead in 1972 and was expected to win the division in 1973. Now, that was all in doubt. First Ken Henderson, now Allen.

Oh. Oh. Is there any meaning to it all?


On the same day that Dick Allen went down with an injury, the Sox announced the release of Rick Reichardt.

The outfielder, who had come over from the Washington Senators after 1970 in a steal of a trade (for pitcher Gerry Janeski, who was no longer in baseball) had played an important part in the renaissance season of 1971. He had hit .251 in a part-time role in 1972 and angrily balked at Stu Holcomb's attempt to cut his salary 20% for 1973. The injury to Ken Henderson enabled him to see more playing time in 1973 and he was hitting .275 at this point in the season.

He remained at loggerheads with Holcomb over salary, however. This made him a target of Harry Caray's salvos and prompted the Sox Park boo birds to come out against him. Reichardt had enough and, after one last meeting with Holcomb on June 27th, walked off the club. He was given his release the next day.

Reichardt explained that the money was the reason for the release and that no team he had played for had ever attempted to cut his salary. He refused to badmouth the White Sox, however. "You'll never catch me saying anything bad about my teams" he told the Tribune.

He was the third player from 1972 to be cut loose over salary issues, joining Jay Johnstone and Ed Spiezio. The money issues exposed a troubling problem in the organization. The team was unable to reach agreements with some of its players after giving one of them the biggest contract in baseball history.

Chuck Tanner and Roland Hemond had come in 1970 to rebuild the shattered remnants of a club that had completely bottomed out and had done so-the White Sox by 1973 looked like a coming AL power. Tanner had used good vibes and positive reinforcement to build the image of the team as one, big, happy family. But now, mounting losses, injuries and salary squabbles were causing that image to slowly unravel.
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