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WSI News - Audio Memories

Sox Audio Memories from White Sox Interactive 1959 Clincher

Sox Audio Memories from White Sox Interactive

 Seventies Survival!

Memorable audio moments for Sox Fans -- exclusively from WSI!

By Mark Liptak

This is another in a series of historic audio highlight themes involving the Chicago White Sox. In the coming months weíll be bringing you the best moments from the rich history of this charter American League franchise. The theme will change each time in order to give you the broadest listen to some of the finest moments over the past fifty plus years. It is our hope that fans, regardless of age, will get a new appreciation of the great players, great moments and great memories that the Sox have brought to generations of Chicagoans... at least the ones who care more about winning and losing, then ivy, sunshine and mediocrity.

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The Bandit, Ken Berry, with another sensational catch in center field at Old Comiskey.

To hear the audio clips, you'll need the RealAudio Player. 
Get one for free here.

The 70's....the "me" decade, which came about after all the counter culture drop outs from the 60's suddenly discovered that they couldnít change the world, couldnít pay for basic living expenses and had to fend for themselves. Did they ever!

The 70's were the best of times and the worst of times. It was the American Bicentennial and Watergate; Sesame Street and the oil embargo; the first VCRís and disco (demolition); streaking and Charlieís Angels; the Iranian hostages and Apollo 13; the King Biscuit Flower Hour and the start of both HBO (1972) and ESPN (1979).

The 70's gave us Boston, Fleetwood Mac, Heart, the Doobie Brothers, Harry Chapin, Bob Seger, Ted Nugent (with respects to Daver!), Styx (from Chicagoís own South Side), Jimmy Buffett, the Allman Brothers Band, Kenny Loggins, Linda Ronstadt, Toto, Billy Joel, Elton John, Foghat, the Commodores, the Charlie Daniels Band, Chicago, James Taylor and yes even Barry Manilow.

The 70's were the era of the classic television comedies. Remember the Carol Burnett Show, the Odd Couple, the Mary Tyler Moore Show, All In The Family, M*A*S*H, Maude, Sanford & Son, the Bob Newhart Show, Happy Days, Welcome Back Kotter, Barney Miller, Lavern & Shirley, The Jeffersons, Threeís Company, WKRP In Cincinnati, Taxi and Mork & Mindy?

You want movies? When the American Film Institute ranked the top 100 movies of the 20th Century these mega hits from the 70's were in the top fifty...The Godfather (#3 1972) "Iím gonna make him an offer he canít refuse...," Star Wars (#15 1977) "Use the force Luke...," Chinatown (#19 1974) "Sheís my sister and my daughter!...," One Flew Over The Cuckooís Nest (#20 1975) "Thatís the Chief, hasnít said a word since heís been here...," Apocalypse Now (#28 1979) "I love the smell of Napalm in the morning...," Annie Hall (#31 1977) "Letís just kiss now and then we can eat our food...," The Godfather Part II (#32 1974) "Today Iíve taken care of all family business...," A Clockwork Orange (#46 1971) "They put lidlocks on me eyes, so that I couldnít close them..." Taxi Driver (#47 1976) "You talkiní to me?...," and Jaws (#48 1975) "Youíre gonna need a bigger boat..."

Add M*A*S*H (#56 1970), Close Encounters of The Third Kind (#64 1977), Network (#66 1976), The French Connection (#70 1971), American Graffiti (#77 1973), Rocky (#78 1976), The Deer Hunter (#79 1978), and Patton (#89 1970) and you had a prolific decade.


Carlos May, Bill Melton, and Dick Allen.

The seventies represented the White Sox worst decade since the forties. Only two winning seasons dotted the landscape but what was even worse was that the Sox, who barely escaped being moved to either Milwaukee or Dallas after the debacle of 1969 almost got moved again to either Denver or Seattle after the 1975 campaign. It was a very near thing. The franchise simply didnít have the resources, or the will, to compete. It didnít matter if John Allyn or Bill Veeck was the owner. The advent of free agency only made it worse, as the Sox had no chance to get the stars who were now auctioning off their services.

For the decade the Sox were a less then stellar 752 - 853. Thatís a .469 winning percentage with an average record of 75 - 85. Remember the 1972 season was shortened to 154 games because of the first labor dispute that caused regular season games to be cancelled. The 1974 and 1979 seasons saw the Sox only play 160 games and in 1975, 1976 and 1978 they only played 161. During the decade the Sox were members of the Western Division and produced a 2nd place finish in 1972, 3rd place finishes in 1971 and 1977, a 4th place finish in 1974, four 5th place finishes in 1973, 1975, 1978 and 1979 and they were dead last in the division, 6th place, in the horrific 1970 season.

The stability that marked the Sox during the 50's and most of the 60's was gone from everywhere. Even the broadcasters changed seemingly every season. WFLD (Channel 32) and WSNS (Channel 44) carried Sox games in the seventies on television. Both of these stations were in their infancy and didnít have the best equipment available to transmit the games clearly, another problem that faced Sox fans. The main Sox TV announcers in the seventies were Jack (Letís Go To The Races!) Drees 1970 - 1972, and Harry Caray from 1973 - 1979. Color commentators included former Sox star pitcher Billy Pierce in 1970, "Bud" Kelly in 1971 - 1972, Bob Waller in 1973 - 1974, J.C. Martin in 1975, Lorn Brown in 1976 - 1979, Jimmy Piersall in 1977 - 1979 and Mary Shane, the first female to announce major league baseball in 1977. Shane wasnít very good to be perfectly blunt and she wasnít around long.

Waller was an interesting individual. He had done Cincinnati Reds games earlier in the seventies before coming to Chicago. He was young, glib, articulate and candid. It was the candid part that got him fired after the 1974 season when Waller had an incident on air with then Sox manager Chuck Tanner. Tanner didnít care for the line of questioning that Waller used in a season ending television interview. Waller pressed Tanner about why, despite all Chuckís positive comments, the Sox couldnít seem to win anything. Tanner walked off the interview leaving Waller by himself giving his opinions on why the team was mediocre at best.

The radio side had as much change as anyplace else in the organization with the mainstay play by play men being Bob Elson 1970 and Harry Caray 1971 - 1979. Elsonís association with the club which began in 1930, ended after the 1970 season, when Caray came to town. Ironically it was Elson who would end up replacing Caray in Oakland! Sort of like a trade of radio broadcasters. WMAQ had the Sox radio rights in 1970 then regained them again in 1973 and held on to them for the rest of the decade. What happened in 1971 - 1972 though is uniquely White Sox.

1970 was the end of the worst three year slide in team history. The White Sox were considered such a devalued property that no radio station bid on their broadcast rights when the contract expired after that dismal season. None....what the White Sox wound up doing was securing two suburban radio stations, WTAQ and WEAW in LaGrange and Evanston respectively, to transmit the games. They were low powered and tended to disappear during the day but it was the best that the Sox could do.

As far as color commentators and relief play by play announcers in the 70's, the list was very long. This was the time when Caray was splitting the game both on TV and radio, so multiple announcers were needed to Ďcover the bases.í "Red" Rush worked his last year with the Sox as Elsonís color man in 1970. Radio station manager Ralph Faucher had the job in 1971 - 1972. Gene Osborn was there in 1973, Bill Mercer in 1974 - 1975 (Mercer now teaches broadcasting at North Texas University), Lorn Brown in 1976 - 1979, Jimmy Piersall in 1977 - 1979, and Mary Shane in 1977.


Gone but not forgotten--
The Soxettes!

As with everything else with the franchise, the days when managers would last five or eight years was over too. The Sox went through eight full or interim managers in the decade. Don Gutteridge started in 1970, replaced for ten games by Billy Adair, who was replaced by Chuck Tanner from the end of the 1970 season through 1975. Paul Richards came back for 1976. Bob Lemon had the job for the miraculous 1977 season then was fired almost half way through 1978. The recently deceased Larry Doby replaced Lemon for the final 78 games of 1978. Don Kessinger had the job for the first 106 games of 1979 to be replaced by a young hot shot with an actual law degree named Tony LaRussa..

With the White Sox no longer registering on the national baseball consciousness except for brief periods in 1972 and 1977, All Star selections practically disappeared. In many cases during some dismal years, the only reason the Sox even had an All Star member is because league rules mandated that every club be represented. This list of All Stars in the decade isnít even close to what the Sox had in the 50's and 60's. Luis Aparicio (1), Bill Melton (1), Wilbur Wood (3), Dick Allen (3), Carlos May (1), Pat Kelly (1), Ed Herrmann (1), "Bucky" Dent (1), "Goose" Gossage (2), Jim Katt (1), Jorgeí Orta (1), Richie Zisk (1) and Chet Lemon (2).

The Sox were able to pick up some individual awards during the decade with many of them coming because of the 1972 and 1977 seasons. Allen capped off his near triple crown season taking home the MVP trophy in 1972. Gold Glove awards went to Aparicio (1), Ken Berry (1), Katt (2) and the late Jim Spencer (1). The Sporting News named Aparicio (1), Allen (2), Wood (1), and Katt (1) to their season ending combined All Star teams. Mike Colbern was named to Baseball Digestís All Rookie team in 1978, Bobby Molinaro joined him on that team along with the one picked by Topps. Also that season Bill Nahorodny made it a 3rd White Sox player overall when he also was named to the Topps team. (Must have been a bad year for rookies!) 1979 saw Ross Baumgarten selected to both the Baseball Digest and Topps rookie teams. Both Roland Hemond (1972) and Veeck (1977) were named the Executive Of The Year. Tanner was the 1972 Manager Of The Year, Wood the 1972 The Sporting News Pitcher Of The Year and Relief Pitcher Of The Year Honors went to Terry Forster (1974) and Gossage (1975). In 1974 the Player of The Week award was started and Allen (2), Orta and Katt picked them up. Zisk won it one time in 1977 with Lemon and Claudell Washington each winning once in 1979.

So what the overview out of the way, letís go to the races! ehrrrrr highlights....sorry!

October 1, 1970- White Sox at California     Final Record: 56 - 106

The end of perhaps the worst season ever in the history of the Chicago White Sox. That year the Sox lost 106 games, they finished 42 games behind first place Minnesota. The total attendance for the season was 495,355 an average of only 6,118! The Sox were death personified, they were a walking corpse of a franchise. As former Sox catcher Ed Herrmann said in his WSI Interview, the players knew that somehow, someway theyíd find a way to lose a game. This game also marked the end for Hall of Fame announcer Bob Elson, although at the time he didnít know it. Elson who had been calling Sox games for forty seasons was a giant in his time, but that time was long gone. Bobís laid back, monotone style just didnít connect with that generationís baseball fans As a result of the shake up that brought people like Stu Holcomb, Roland Hemond and Chuck Tanner to the organization Elson was let go. Heíd work for Charlie Finley and the Oakland Aís in 1971 his final season. (And he hated every moment of it!)

From this game we have three highlights starting off with Walt Williams blast in the top of the 9th inning. The shot came with two men on, off former Sox star relief pitcher Eddie Fisher and tied the game at three. Elson and partner "Red" Rush call the action. Courtesy: WMAQ.
Let Me Hear It!

In the 13th inning it was Bill Melton, the first White Sox player ever to hit thirty plus home runs in a season, who put the Pale Hose ahead for the first time 4-3 as he uncorked a long home run. Once again the duo of Elson and Rush are on hand. Courtesy: WMAQ.
Let Me Hear It!

But naturally the Sox couldnít hold it and California rallied for a 5-4 win thanks to a game winning hit by pitcher Mel Queen. This is Queenís hit and the wrap up of the game, Elsonís final words as a member of the White Sox broadcasting team. Courtesy: WMAQ.
Let Me Hear It!

1972 Sox
Opening Day Lineup

#3 Walt Williams RF

#2 Mike Andrews 2B

#15 Dick Allen 1B

#14 Bill Melton 3B

#17 Carlos May LF

#48 Rick Reichardt CF

#12 Ed Herrmann C

#1 Luis Alvarado SS

#28 Wilbur Wood P

May 21, 1972- California at White Sox     Final Record: 87 - 67

The 1971 season saw the Sox make a 23 game improvement in the win column and pointed towards better days ahead. The off season trade that made the 72 Sox took place when Hemond sent pitcher Tommy John and infielder Steve Huntz to the Dodgers for troubled star Dick Allen. Allen whoíd win the MVP award, together with May, Wood, Stan Bahnsen, Forster, Gossage and until his injury Melton, formed the nucleus of a team that battled the Aís almost down to the final week of the campaign. The Sox also had complimentary role players with Herrmann, Kelly, Jay Johnstone, Rick Reichardt, Ed Spezio, Tom Egan and Andrews. It was a potent and powerful mix.

The Sox also possessed a never say die attitude and a flair for the dramatic. Case in point, our next highlight. On this day the Sox trailed the Angels 8-6 with two out in the 9th and two men on. If the Sox could somehow win, theyíd go into first place in the division and cap off an eleven game home stand. With Alan Foster on the mound, May delivered a shot into the upper deck and a minute later the Sox were 18-10 and 9-2 for the home stand with a 9-8 win. they also were looking down on the Athletics. A "calm" Harry Caray was the new Sox announcer and gave us fans a taste on what life in the Sox broadcasting booth was now going to be like. Courtesy: WTAQ / WEAW.
Let Me Hear It!

June 4, 1972- Yankees at White Sox #2     Final Record: 87 - 67

In every successful season there is a defining moment. This was the first of three such moments for Dick Allen. Itís one of the greatest moments in the history of the franchise. The Sox had already won Game #1 of the Sunday double header before a sellout. In Game #2, the Sox trailed 4-2 in the 9th inning before coming to life. With two men on Ralph Houk brought in "Sparky" Lyle the top relief pitcher in the American League, White Sox manager Chuck Tanner countered with Allen who was sitting out Game #2, the first time he hadnít been in the lineup all season. This was the game where Mike Andrews, standing on first base, yelled at Lyle, his old roommate with the Red Sox, "Sparky...youíre in deep shit now!" And he really was! With two out Allen took a strike and a ball before rocketing a blast into the lower deck in left field, winning the game 5-4. The crowd (of whom I was a part of) refused to leave Comiskey Park, standing, shouting and hollering for almost thirty minutes after the game ended. It was a giddy, heady feeling not seen on the South Side since 1967. Here is the call of the play from the Yankees standpoint. Phil Rizzuto and Frank Messer have it. Courtesy: WABC.
Let Me Hear It!

July 23, 1972- Cleveland at White Sox #2     Final Record: 87 - 67

Weíll hear from Allen again later but first letís revisit that other Sox star that season, Carlos May. As the 1972 season moved along the Sox had to regroup after losing All Star 3rd baseman and home run champ Bill Melton to a bad disk in his lower back. Bill was gone for the year after falling off a ladder from his garage in late June, where he went to get his young son who somehow got up on it. GM Roland Hemond went out and got Ed Spezio from San Diego, and the Sox kept right on winning.

This was another Sunday doubleheader and once again the Sox took the first game beating the Indians. In Game #2, South Side native, future Sox All Star relief pitcher, and color radio commentator Ed Farmer was on the mound when he made a mistake to May. In an instant the Sox had a 4-3 win. Itís Harry Caray again, as reserved as usual! Courtesy: WTAQ / WEAW.
Let Me Hear It!


Young infielder Bucky Dent went on to fame wearing somebody else's pinstripes.

July 31, 1972- White Sox at Minnesota     Final Record: 87 - 67

It wasnít just what Dick Allen was doing on the field that thrilled White Sox fans, it was the way he was doing it. Allen was doing things Sox fans have never seen before, some of the things he did baseball had never seen before...or not seen in decades. July 31st was such a day as the White Sox played the Twins in old Metropolitan Stadium. For those of you who never saw it, the "Met" was a huge ballpark with power alleys that went on forever. On this date Allen, assisted by some judgmental errors by Minnesota center fielder Danny Darwin, found both of them and became only the second man in baseball history (at that time) to hit two inside the park home runs in the same game. Allen hit both off Minnesota pitcher Bery Blylevan in the Sox 8-1 win. The first one went into right center... as Darwin was running towards the ball his feet slipped out from under him at the same time the ball took a crazy hop over him and rolled to the fence. Allen easily came around to score. His second one was a sinking drive into left center that Darwin tried to make a shoe top catch on...when the ball got past him, once again Allen scored easily. Weíve got the audio here from the first shot in the 1st inning, make sure you listen to the sound of bat meeting ball!. Jack Drees calls the moment. Courtesy: WSNS-TV.
Let Me Hear It!

August 23, 1972-Yankees at White Sox     Final Record: 87 - 67

Allen still had one more magic moment for Sox fans and it was a moment that Harry Caray never forgot either! On a Wednesday afternoon, Caray as was his custom, was broadcasting from the center field bleachers. Yours truly got an early birthday present and was sitting approximately ten feet from him when Allen stepped to the plate in the 7th inning of a close game. With Lindy McDaniel on the mound, Allen rocked a tremendous blast into the center field seats sending the crowd into shock and awe. Caray tried to catch the ball in his net but missed it. It provided the needed insurance in a 5-2 win. Hereís Carayís call of this incredible moment and his interview with the fan who did catch that baseball. Courtesy: WTAQ / WEAW.
Let Me Hear It!

May 15, 1973- White Sox at Aís                 Final Record: 77 - 85

The 1973 season was one of the most disappointing in team history especially because of the way it started off.

Dick Allen had won the MVP the previous season, Wilbur Wood was pitcher of the year, Chuck Tanner... manager of the year, Roland Hemond, executive of the year. The Sox were feeling good about their chances in 1973. Fans figured that the Sox had played the World Champion Aís almost even and that was without home run champion Bill Melton who was lost for the year in June with a back injury. With the addition of power hitting center fielder Ken Henderson, the Sox lineup was formidable. Twenty game winners Wood and Stan Bahnsen anchored the pitching staff, in short, this was going to be the year.

The Sox blew out of the gate claiming first place in late April and holding it through late June. Wood had already won 13 games by Memorial Day! Allen was off to another good start and things looked like they were finally coming together.

Unfortunately the Sox then were blown apart by injuries. They used the disabled list 38 times before the season ended. The injuries were small and nagging like Carlos Mayís hamstring, Meltonís groin and Pat Kellyís back. The injuries were major like Allenís broken leg, and Hendersonís torn up knee. Things got so bad that Brian Downing injured his knee on the first play in the first inning of his first major league game at Detroit!

But at least for the first two months things were looking good. Coming in the Henderson for Tom Bradley deal was a right handed pitcher named Steve Stone whoíd go on to a second stint with the Sox in 1977 as the top starter with fifteen wins. But in 1973 he was in the bullpen and this was his biggest moment. Out in Oakland, Stone came into a jam caused by Cy Acosta. in the 12th inning with runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out. The Sox were up 6-5. Stone would strike out Joe Rudi then fan Gene Tenace to preserve the win with a very hard earned save. Itís Harry Caray with the play by play. Courtesy: WSNS-TV.
Let Me Hear It!

July 23, 1974- All Star Game                     Final Record: 80 - 80

You couldnít get much more mediocre than the 1974 White Sox. Not only was the season dead even, it was one of those years where youíd be hard pressed to remember anything about the campaign overall. Dick Allen won the league home run title despite leaving the Sox for good in mid September. And that was basically it for the season!

The highlight for this season comes from Pittsburgh and the All Star Game where Allen was selected again and faced the Dodgers Andy Messersmith with Rod Carew and Reggie Jackson on base. Dick ripped an RBI single giving the American League a short lived lead in a game theyíd lose 7-2. Hall Of Fame announcer Curt Gowdy and Joe Garagiola were in Three Rivers Stadium for the game. Courtesy: NBC-TV.
Let Me Hear It!

August 10, 1975- Orioles at White Sox     Final Record: 75 - 86

It was another nondescript season made even worse because Allen was gone and the Sox staggered through another season of mediocrity. It would be the last season in a Sox uniform for May and Melton as well along with Manager Chuck Tanner. Still every so often something exciting would take place like on our next audio highlight. On this date the Sox trailed Baltimore 2-0 going into the 9th inning. After a "Bucky" Dent walk and a Brian Downing home run tied the game, Ross Grimsley was brought in. He walked Pat Kelly which brought Jorgeí Orta up to the plate in a game situation. Orta would prove to be the hero in the 3-2 win. Harry Caray gets the chance to say "the White Sox win!". Courtesy: WSNS-TV.
Let Me Hear It!

1977 Season

After Bill Veeck reacquired the White Sox after the 1975 season he set out to put his stamp back on a bad franchise that had little reason to hope. Granted he had little or no funds to work with and with free agency he was doomed not to be able to acquire top talent but the "circus" atmosphere was back which was either good or bad depending upon your point of view.

Veeck came up with a radical idea for the start of the 1977 season. He decided to adopt a "rent-a-player" philosophy. Basically the Sox would acquire as many players in the final year of their contracts as possible. The reasoning was that such player would play hard the entire season hoping to score a big money deal for the following season. It wouldnít be with the Sox of course but Veeck figured to live for today since tomorrow wasnít promised to anybody. In addition Veeck combed the bargain basement free agent market and struck gold twice with Eric Soderholm and Steve Stone. Soderholm would be named the "comeback player of the year." Stone would win fifteen games and anchor the pitching staff. The biggest of the "rent-a-playerís" was Richie Zisk a hard hitting outfielder who came from Pittsburgh for Terry Forster and "Goose" Gossage. Zisk, of Polish decent, was a natural in Chicago and averaged ninety RBIís for the Bucs.

He knew why he was brought to Chicago, to drive in runs and thought that the players the Sox assembled around him would give him many chances to do that. Courtesy: WGN-TV.
Let Me Hear It!

And so the Sox opened the regular season in a snowstorm in Toronto becoming the first American League team to play a meaningful game outside of the U.S. They pounded out 19 hits but lost 9-5 to the Blue Jays. Fans quickly realized however that this wasnít going to be "just another year." These players had something...chemistry, a chip on their shoulders, something that proved magical. As Eric Soderholm told WSI in his interview, the Sox of 1977 had no business winning, they were castoffs, retreads, guys coming back from serious injuries, but somehow they won. They hammered their way to the top of the division by early June, hitting home runs at a record setting pace. By the time the season ended nine players had double figures in home runs, and Zisk had hit balls both into the center field bleachers and over the roof. Theyíd hit 197 as a team, and this was before juiced up baseballs, sluggers and small ballparks!

1977 Sox
Opening Day Lineup

#48 Ralph Garr LF

#7 Alan Bannister SS

#6 Jorgeí Orta 2B

#22 Richie Zisk RF

#3 Jim Spencer 1B

#17 Oscar Gamble DH

#12 Eric Soderholm 3B

#44 Chet Lemon CF

#16 Brian Downing C

#34 Ken Brett P

July 15, 1977- Boston at White Sox          Final Record: 90 - 72

Things were hitting a fever pitch for the Sox as the All Star Break was coming around. The red Sox came to town with both teams in first place in their respective divisions. Another big crowd saw the Sox rake starter Bob Stanley, as well as his relief man Bill Lee to the tune of a 7-0 lead. The big blow was when Lamar Johnson came up as a pinch hitter with the bases loaded and cleared them with a long blast. The Sox would hang on to win 9-7. Itís Harry Caray with the call. Courtesy: WMAQ.
Let Me Hear It!

The other endearing memory of that season, which remains to this day, is the song. In real life the song started out via a New York City studio group assembled by producer Paul Leka. It wasnít even a real group, just a bunch of musicians hired to do this one song. The song entered the Billboard chart on October 18, 1969 and stayed in it for 16 weeks eventually rising to number one for two weeks. The group was called Steam. The song...Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye. In 1977 Sox organist Nancy Faust started playing it when the Sox were hammering opposing pitchers. The song caught on, and became the Sox "unofficial" anthem. Lamar Johnson explained how it all came about. Courtesy: WGN-TV.
Let Me Hear It!

The Sox continued to hammer the baseball at an amazing clip, one that Steve Stone and the other pitchers appreciated. Of course, Stone said that was all the way Bill Veeck wanted it. Courtesy: WGN-TV.
Let Me Hear It!

At the end of July the Sox took their biggest divisional lead of the season by beating Kansas City three straight times. The wins, before packed houses, all were of the come from behind variety. The Sox rallied to win in the 7th, 8th and 10th innings. But the Royals were watching and waiting. The won the final game of the four game set in Chicago after feeling the Sox and their fans were showing them up, by the song, the curtain calls and the home runs. When the Sox went to Kansas City the following week the Royals were ready to explode and they did. They swept the Sox in three then rolled off one of the hottest streaks in baseball history, sixteen in a row at one point and 48 of 64 since July 31. Meanwhile the Sox were staggering home at 28-34 since the same July 31st date.

The Sox would finish the season with 90 wins but couldnít resign Zisk and the other power hitting free agent Oscar Gamble. The 1978 season, despite the addition for a short time, of Bobby Bonds, was a disaster just like 1979 would be. (Authorís Note:  Learn more about the Southside Hitmen of 1977 click this link at White Sox Interactive.)

By the end of the decade Veeck was looking for a way out, hopelessly undercapitalized, with a wretched team and mounting debt. Before long the rumors about the Sox being sold or worse, moved, were starting up still again. Veeck thought he had found his savior only to be told by baseball to look elsewhere. Thatís where our next historical interactive piece, "The Enigmatic Eighties" will begin.


Francisco Barrios

Other important dates in the decade of the 1970's!

February 13, 1970- Paul Edmondson, who pitched a two hitter in his debut with the Sox in 1969, is killed in a car crash in California.

May 31, 1970- The Sox in the midst of a dismal and embarrassing season, maul the Red Sox 22-13. The victim of this uprising? None other then 60's Sox mainstay, Gary Peters.

July 19, 1970- Luis Aparicio Day is staged at Comiskey Park.

September 2, 1970- The White Sox go outside of the organization and hire Roland Hemond to be player personnel director and Chuck Tanner as field manager.

September 21, 1970- For the first time in 69 seasons, the Sox finally have a 30 home run man. Bill Melton gets an upper deck shot for the most Sox home runs in a season. That same day Luis Aparicio gets his final hit in a Sox uniform. 672 fans are on hand to see it!

April 7, 1971- The Sox become the first team in baseball history to win a regularly scheduled double header on Opening Day. They beat the Aís in Oakland. During the second game, Carlos May hits a home run but is called out for failing to touch home plate!

Memorial Day 1971- The Sox and Orioles split a double header but the big news is made when former Sox player Don Buford charged the mound carrying his bat, after a couple of close pitches from Bart Johnson. After umpires calmed down the combatants, the next time in the on deck circle, Buford was charged by a fan along the first base line. Buford knocked him out with one punch. When another fan jumped in to help, Bufordís teammates charged out of the dugout.

September 18, 1971- Carlos May pulls off one of the rarest baseball feats of all when he gets an inside the park grand slam against the Angels Tom Murphy. May a left handed hitter, sliced a drive down the left field line. Californiaís outfielder slammed his head diving for the ball which rolled into the corner. By the time the center fielder came over and threw it back home, everyone had scored. A personal favorite of mine because I was there to see it.

September 30, 1971- When Bill Melton smashed a home run on the last day of the season off the Brewers Bill Parsons, he became the first Sox player to ever win a home run championship. Typically White Sox, he only had 33, the lowest total for a champ since 1965.

May 20, 1973- Over 55,000 fans pack Comiskey Park to see the Sox play the Twins in a double header. Itís the largest crowd in that stadiumís history.

May 28, 1973- Sox pitcher Wilbur Wood runs his record to 13-3 (before June 1st!) after winning two games in one night against the Indians. Wood threw five innings in the first game which was the completion of a suspended contest from the previous week. He then pitched the regularly scheduled contest. All told, Wood threw 14 innings allowing one run and six hits.

June 21, 1973- Sox pitcher Stan Bahnsen throws one of the strangest shutouts in baseball history. Bahnsen beat the Aís 2-0. He allowed 12 hits and a walk in the process.

August 21, 1973- Fate again intervenes in Bahnsenís life. He takes a no hitter into the 9th inning against Cleveland. After getting the first two outs, former Sox Walt Williams gets a ground single to left past Bill Melton.

June 7, 1974- During a game against the Red Sox, a fire breaks out at Comiskey Park. It started in the main commissary under the right field stands. Several thousand fans are forced to go on the field for safety reasons but they leave the field in great shape without any damage.

September 14, 1974- Dick Allen tells his teammates in a tearful statement that he is leaving the Sox and retiring from baseball. Allen would later say it was a misunderstanding and that he wanted to return but by that time the Sox had enough and traded him to the Braves for catcher Jim Essian.

August 29, 1975- Outfielder Ken Henderson becomes the first Sox player to hit a home run from both sides of the plate in the same game. Ross Grimsley and Wayne Garland are the victims at Baltimore.

October 1, 1975- Owner John Allyn appears on Johnny Morrisí sports on WBBM-TV. While talking about the pending sale of the club he says if he does own the team in 1976, Harry Caray wonít be back. Allyn is tired of Caray and wants to fire him. The next day Caray has this retort, " I canít believe any man can own a ballclub and be as dumb as John Allyn. Did he make enough to own it or did he inherit it?"

December 10, 1975- After at first voting down the sale of the Sox to Bill Veeck, American League owners reconsider and allow the team to be sold rather then moved to Seattle. Sports Illustrated has Veeck on the cover with the caption "baseball couldnít shut him out."

May 9, 1976- Sox pitcher Wilbur Woodís career is basically ended when he suffers a broken kneecap after the Tigers Ron LeFlore lines a shot off it.

May 26, 1976- Eight days after being acquired in a trade, Sox pitcher Ken Brett nearly throws a perfect game. Brett retires the first 26 California players before Jerry Remy hits a slow ground ball to Jorge Orta. The ball rolls under his glove and the official scorer rules it a hit instead of an error. The Sox won the game, their tenth in a row.

July 28, 1976- John "Blue Moon" Odom and Francisco Barrios combine to throw a no hitter against the Aís in Oakland. The Sox win it 2-1.

March 1977- The Sox deal "Bucky" Dent to the Yankees for Oscar Gamble, LaMarr Hoyt and Bob Polinsky. New York manager Billy Martin also wanted to deal Ron Guidry as part of the trade but was overruled by Yankees G.M. Gabe Paul.

May 14, 1977- The Sox play the Cleveland Indians in a game that starts at 10:30 AM. Itís part of a promotion with McDonalds to unveil the "Egg McMuffin" breakfast sandwich. Jim Spencer must have liked the early game as he drove in eight runs in the 18-2 win.

June 19, 1977- Wilbur Wood throws his last good game for the Sox as he beat the Aís 2-1. Lamar Johnson does everything in this contest. Johnsonís two homers are the only Sox hits on the day. Oh yes, he also sang the National Anthem beforehand.

July 2, 1977- With first place at stake, the Sox beat the Twins 13-8. Spencer becomes the first Sox player to ever drive in eight runs twice in a season.

August 5, 1977- In the first game of a key series with the Royals, pitcher Bart Johnson and Royals catcher Darrell Porter get into a shoving match along the first base line in the 3rd inning. In the 6th inning when Porter is coming up to bat, Johnson yells out "do you want it now?" and another brawl takes place.

September 11, 1977- Sox pitcher Chris Knapp strikes out 13 Angels in a 6-2 win at Anaheim

June 7, 1978- The franchise collects its 6,000th win. The Sox beat Minnesota 8-3 with Ken Kravec getting the win.

June 30, 1978- Hall Of Famer Larry Doby replaces Bob Lemon as field manager. Doby becomes the second African-American to manage a major league club.

July 12, 1979- "Disco Demolition" when the Sox were made the laughingstock of the baseball world. Thank you Steve Dahl! (Authorís Note: Visit WSI's  Disco Demolition tribute for a comprehensive look at this bizarre night.)

July 14, 1979- Claudell Washington hits three home runs in a game against Detroit.

August 12, 1979- Tony LaRussa is named field manager replacing Don Kessinger and a new era for White Sox baseball begins to take shape.


As always comments, corrections, criticisms and input are always welcomed and appreciated. Even the insulting ones! Feel free to e-mail me at mliptak1@ida.net

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