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View Full Version : Were you at the Disco demolition Night in '79?


silvermonk
05-21-2009, 04:26 AM
Hello,

My name is Wayne Wright and I am making a radio documentary for BBC Radio 2 in the UK. The doc will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Disco Demolition Night on July 12th 1979.

Were you there? Did you invade the pitch that night? Why did you go? Were you a fan of Steve Dahl? Were you a rock fan protesting against disco?

I would love to interview you for our programme. We will be in Chicago from Sunday 31st May - Tuesday 2nd June. If you live outside of Chicago we can do interviews by phone/at local radio studios.

I hope you will be able to help me!

DumpJerry
05-21-2009, 07:04 AM
I was there.

cbone
05-21-2009, 07:17 AM
I was there with 3 friends. We did not go on the field. I was already a big Sox fan and it didn't seem right.

The Critic
05-21-2009, 09:10 AM
I was not there.
I figured it was going to be Idiot Night so I declined my brother's invite to go to the game with him.

Railsplitter
05-21-2009, 09:35 AM
I was at the game three nights earlier.

The family had visited some relatives, and since it was an hour drive, we wondered why the second game wasn't being played. Only when we got back home and saw Channel 44 running the 1959 World Series highlightn film with explanitory streamers on the scree.

DDN was the musical equivlent of a book burning and doesn't merit celebration. Some people still hold a grudge against Veeck over it until this day.

Fenway had an interesting Beantown reaction to this on his sig a while back.

WhiteSox5187
05-21-2009, 11:38 AM
My dad was working for the White Sox then and was at that game. Allegedly he saw Bill Veeck before the game started who said something like "I don't think these guys are here for the game. This might be bad."

ode to veeck
05-21-2009, 12:21 PM
I was there.

that explains a lot :makefaces:

LITTLE NELL
05-21-2009, 12:25 PM
Watched it on TV and since I've been a Sox fan it was the lowest point.
I had no idea there was a promotion that night and for the life of me I could not figure out why there were 50,000 in the park that night as 15,000 was the norm at that time, we soon found out after the 1st game.

Medford Bobby
05-21-2009, 04:48 PM
I took a date to the next night's game July 13th. Fireworks night. We sat under the score board. Bad place to sit with a date for fireworks night. It rains firework debris on you, like the '67 snowstorm.

Never the less the field was still torn up from the night before. And just like the Sox usually were in those years, they lost the game to the Tigers.

If I could apologize to that date 30 years later today, I would. :(:

Chez
05-21-2009, 06:18 PM
I was watching the events on TV from my parents' basement, sipping a Falstaff (or was it Carta Blanca?) -- the drinking age was 19 at the time (18 in Urbana!) -- and seething that the Sox actually forfeited a game!

DumpJerry
05-21-2009, 07:03 PM
I was watching the events on TV from my parents' basement, sipping a Falstaff (or was it Carta Blanca?) -- the drinking age was 19 at the time (18 in Urbana!) -- and seething that the Sox actually forfeited a game!
21 in Chicago at the time.

getonbckthr
05-21-2009, 08:06 PM
Half with my dad and half with my mom.:tongue:

EnglishChiSox
07-07-2009, 10:10 AM
If you want to listen to the mentioned programme it will be broadcast on BBC Radio 2 which you can listen to online (I think you can listen to it in the USA) it's on this Saturday at 10pm BST which is 4pm Chicago time.

Info about it here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00lk05w

Woofer
07-07-2009, 10:32 AM
Was watching from home. What a night that was. I was especially mad that the Sox had to forfeit. I can remember Jimmy Piersal saying that the forfeit would go down in the books as a 9-0 loss, though I may be wrong on that. That's just the way that I remember it.

Lip Man 1
07-07-2009, 10:48 AM
Silver:

Michael Clark Duncan was in the stands that night. He'd become an actor appearing in numerous movies like The Green Mile and a young Donn Pall was also in the stands.

Paul would go on to make the major leagues with, you guess it, the White Sox.

This is from my interview with him. You have permission to use it, if you'd like:

ML: Now you told me that you were at the park the night of "Disco Demolition" right?

DP: "I was. I had seats in the lower deck, 3rd base side, about halfway up. As I walked around the park that night it was packed, but I thought I was at a Grateful Dead concert instead of a ball game. I literally saw a cloud of smoke hanging over the field. It’s funny, I remember wondering if the record that I took with me to get in was going to be accepted as a disco record. I thought that the ticket takers wouldn’t let me get in because it wasn’t "disco"! (laughing) Remember you had to bring a disco record with you and if you did, you could get in for .98 cents."

"Between games after they blew up the records, people started running on the field. They weren’t just trying to run the bases, they were ripping up the grass, trying to tear out the bases. I remember seeing some guy climbing down the foul pole! I saw a lot of people with gashes on their heads because people were throwing records around like frisbees. It reminded me of a concert where for a while a baseball game broke out. When that second game was declared a forfeit, I was pissed off! The Sox were pretty bad and they couldn’t afford forfeiting a game! I was probably the only person who left the park that night upset over that loss."

thomas35forever
07-07-2009, 10:57 AM
My aunt and uncle were there. My uncle said he saw someone light second base on fire. He also recalled them announcing that "the Sox forfeit 9-0."

Orta 4-6-3
07-07-2009, 11:24 AM
I was with a bunch of friends in the upper deck right field stands.

We got there late (about the 7th inning), and by that time they had stopped even taking tickets (some of us had brought disco records), so we all vaulted over the turnstiles.

When we got in, there was already a heavy (in sight and smell) haze of smoke, and I'm not talking about the smoke after a Sox homer. The outfielders had already donned batting helmets, due to all the records being flung from the stands.

After the records were blown up and the fans started running around, we were laughing, at first. But when they started the fire in center field, tearing up parts of the grass, and overturning the batting cage, the amusement ended. Many of us in the outfield were chanting "A-Holes!" and "Get the Bleep Off the Field!". When the cops finally appeared, they were heartily cheered (quite a contrast to 11 years earlier).

My strongest memory of that night, however, is that of a guy sitting a few rows behind us, bent over, throwing up, and the vomit trickling down the aisle steps.

jdm2662
07-07-2009, 11:54 AM
I was only 2.

However, my uncle is the biggest Sox fan I know. He was watching the game on TV. He looked at my aunt while watching this and said, this is going to be ugly. He was right. He said he's never been more embarassed being from Chicago that night.

On anoter note, when Comiskey closed for good in 1990, Steve Dahl wrote a song about Comiskey. When his mug was shown on Sportschannel, my dad said: "After what he did to the Sox, they actually let him back in???" Not everyone thought it was cool.

All I know is, if that happened today, I would be extremely pissed.

russ99
07-07-2009, 12:20 PM
I was 13. I really wanted to go, but my mom wisely wouldn't let me. :D:

But I followed the festivities on TV and as a Steve Dahl fan and member of the "Insane Coho Lips" followed religiously before and after on the radio, so I was there in spirit and not in any actual danger of being hit in the head by a flying disco record.

Woofer
07-07-2009, 02:18 PM
My aunt and uncle were there. My uncle said he saw someone light second base on fire. He also recalled them announcing that "the Sox forfeit 9-0."

That's the way that I remembered it. I was only 9 at the time, but I remember Jimmy saying it sort in a sad tone, as they were going to go off the air.

hellenicsoxfan
07-07-2009, 06:23 PM
I was there. My friends and I were Sox fans and Steve Dahl fans, so it seemed like a good idea to go. When we got there and people were literally climbing the outside walls of Old Comiskey Park to get in, it started to feel like not such a good idea. Once we got inside, we realized that only a minority of the people there were baseball fans. With all the records flying and the unruly people, I wasn't feeling really safe. The Tiger's manager (Sparky Anderson, I think) pulled the Tigers off the field at least once, maybe twice. I was just hoping that when the 1st game ended and the records were blown up, all those non-fans would leave and we could watch the 2nd game in peace. Obviously, that never happened.

When all the rioting started, my friends and I looked at each other and said let's get out of here. However, they couldn't open the gates because thousands of people were outside the park and would storm inside if they were open, so it took a while to get out through the limited exits. We were listening to the radio in the car after we left and all the stations were talking about the riot at the Sox game. Not a great day in Sox history.

Fenway
07-09-2009, 08:55 PM
I was at the game three nights earlier.

The family had visited some relatives, and since it was an hour drive, we wondered why the second game wasn't being played. Only when we got back home and saw Channel 44 running the 1959 World Series highlightn film with explanitory streamers on the scree.

DDN was the musical equivlent of a book burning and doesn't merit celebration. Some people still hold a grudge against Veeck over it until this day.

Fenway had an interesting Beantown reaction to this on his sig a while back.

Ahh yes

Red Sox were in Anaheim that night and in the first inning the late, great Ned Martin was doing the out-of-town scores

Martin: Well this is interesting, the second game between the Tigers and White Sox is delayed and the wire says 'OUTFIELD ON FIRE'

Ken Harrelson: What has Bill Veeck done now?

Martin: Mercy

BTW Hawk uses Mercy in honor of Ned who he did color with from 79-81 in Boston after Dick Stockton went to CBS

I still have the tape as WSBK did a followup the next night on the fiasco

BainesHOF
07-09-2009, 10:19 PM
I remember watching the game as a 10-year-old and feeling sad watching Bill Veeck as his field was destroyed.

I had no idea who Steve Dahl was at the time, but I later became a big fan.

SoxandtheCityTee
07-10-2009, 06:18 AM
Mike & Mike are playing disco music in commemoration and their explanation of what happened made me turn the radio off: mostly accurate except for the tidbit that the Sox needed to draw more fans -- undoubtedly true -- but the reason was because they were the second team, the less popular team in town, or some such nonsense.

In 1979? Really? When Wrigleyville was still Lakeview and its bars had more bikers than brohams? The Sox had drawn reasonably well (for those days) in 1977; things did fall off in the following couple years but it's not like the Flubs were drawing 2 million or anything.

I thought that at least Greenberg had some pretensions to being a journalist. Blech. You can't even remember a Sox event without the Flubs revisionist history intruding.

And no, I couldn't go.

bigsoxfan420
07-10-2009, 08:07 AM
In the womb.

skobabe8
07-10-2009, 09:35 AM
Ahh yes

Red Sox were in Anaheim that night and in the first inning the late, great Ned Martin was doing the out-of-town scores

Martin: Well this is interesting, the second game between the Tigers and White Sox is delayed and the wire says 'OUTFIELD ON FIRE'

Ken Harrelson: What has Bill Veeck done now?

Martin: Mercy

BTW Hawk uses Mercy in honor of Ned who he did color with from 79-81 in Boston after Dick Stockton went to CBS

I still have the tape as WSBK did a followup the next night on the fiasco


I'm sure that would be great audio for the original poster's story.

I was in the womb as well.

cbone
07-10-2009, 10:07 AM
I was there with friends, 20 years old at the time. I was a Sox fan from birth and was embarrassed. I was a big Steve Dahl fan and wondered why they never let him get on the PA to try and calm things down. Things were so out of control it probably wouldn't have helped.

cbone
07-10-2009, 03:47 PM
This is all the news coverage from that night some pretty cool stuff.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31832616/ns/entertainment-music/

white sox bill
07-10-2009, 05:46 PM
Times sure have changed, back then Wrigley was mellow and Comiskey was staged as the Worlds Largest Tavern or something like that. Imagine our reaction here at WSI if this scene had broken out at Wrigley.

But different times...

Fenway
07-12-2009, 11:36 AM
I'm sure that would be great audio for the original poster's story.

I was in the womb as well.

ESPN used the video this morning (Irony is Hawk would be with White Sox 3 years later after being fired by the Red Sox)

Mike Veeck told me years ago the major blunder was he and his Dad figured the crowd at 20-25K tops and staffed accordingly. Since the 99 cents tickets were only to be sold day of game there was no way of seeing a spike in sales plus there was no real indication WLUP had that many listeners at that point.

Mike also told me that his Dad was never the same after that night.

Fenway
07-12-2009, 11:56 AM
The view from Detroit about that night


http://www.detnews.com/article/20090712/OPINION03/907120309/Looking-back-at-a-dangerous-night-in-baseball

Railsplitter
07-12-2009, 05:37 PM
Something that didn't occur to me until today: was anybody in uniform for both Disco Demontition night and Cleveland's 10 cent beer night in 1974?

TommyJohn
07-12-2009, 06:50 PM
Something that didn't occur to me until today: was anybody in uniform for both Disco Demontition night and Cleveland's 10 cent beer night in 1974?

Yes! I posted about it in the past-Rusty Torres of the White Sox also played for the Indians on Ten Cent Beer Night. He also played for the Yankees on September 30, 1971-the night the Senators' final game in Washington was forfeited because fans swarmed the playing field. There were three forfeits in the majors in the 1970s due to fan riots-and Rusty Torres was there for all three of them.

Viva Medias B's
07-12-2009, 06:56 PM
I was vacationing in Fort Lauderdale that night.

eastchicagosoxfan
07-12-2009, 07:08 PM
Yes! I posted about it in the past-Rusty Torres of the White Sox also played for the Indians on Ten Cent Beer Night. He also played for the Yankees on September 30, 1971-the night the Senators' final game in Washington was forfeited because fans swarmed the playing field. There were three forfeits in the majors in the 1970s due to fan riots-and Rusty Torres was there for all three of them.
Now that's trivia!!!

Lip Man 1
07-12-2009, 08:59 PM
And Greg Pryor was the only player to be in the lineup for Disco Demolition and The Pine Tar Game.

Lip

TommyJohn
07-12-2009, 10:00 PM
Now that's trivia!!!

And Greg Pryor was the only play to be in the lineup for Disco Demolition and The Pine Tar Game.

Lip

You know what's even more fun? (I think so anyway.) Jim Morrison was in the lineup for the White Sox that night.

BigP50
07-12-2009, 10:02 PM
I was not there, cause I was born 13 years later but my History teacher said I look like a pot head, lol. I probably would have fit right in.

october23sp
07-12-2009, 10:18 PM
Missed it by 12 years, but ESPN just did a story on DDN.

Whitesoxfan23
07-12-2009, 11:17 PM
I am curious to what it was like, and if anyone on WSI was there?

chisoxfanatic
07-12-2009, 11:46 PM
http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=111998

BarbG
07-13-2009, 01:04 AM
...Not everyone thought it was cool.

All I know is, if that happened today, I would be extremely pissed.

I was there. I was 15. I was so excited to take my boyfriend, who was a Steve Dahl fan, to his first baseball game. He ran onto the field when the mob started. About 15 minutes in my brother and sister decided we needed to leave so I had to find my boyfriend. I wandered around on the field looking for him for just a few minutes. After being groped - TWICE - by stoned morons yelling, "Disco sucks, baby!" I decided he could find his own way home and raced back to our seats. He was already there, the crap going on was too much even for him.

I never told my dad any of the details, he was so upset about the damage and the forfeit already. I cried myself to sleep that night.

BigP50
07-13-2009, 01:08 AM
geez im sorry that happened to u Barb.


I couldn't even imagine what it would be like to be there. If it were today I would be on the field with my camera, lol.

white sox bill
07-13-2009, 08:13 AM
I was 19 that Summer, was a RAD card carrying member (Rockers Against Disco). Now I kind of like Disco. Funny how age changes things. Anyway, can't say the Cubs stole the limelight that night! I guess it was an embarrassment, but not along the lines of Ligue, at least IMO. Wasn't it Barnum and Bailey that said theres no such thing as bad publicity?

I'm sure had I been there, I would have fun as usual.

TommyJohn
07-13-2009, 08:30 AM
I forgot to add my favorite quote about that night:

"Ten years after Woodstock, we have Veeckstock." That was the lede of Tribune writer David Israel's column the next day.

white sox bill
07-13-2009, 08:49 AM
I think the best line that night was the scoreboard telling everyone to return to their seats! Yea right LOL!

rwcescato
07-13-2009, 12:12 PM
Hello,

My name is Wayne Wright and I am making a radio documentary for BBC Radio 2 in the UK. The doc will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Disco Demolition Night on July 12th 1979.

Were you there? Did you invade the pitch that night? Why did you go? Were you a fan of Steve Dahl? Were you a rock fan protesting against disco?

I would love to interview you for our programme. We will be in Chicago from Sunday 31st May - Tuesday 2nd June. If you live outside of Chicago we can do interviews by phone/at local radio studios.

I hope you will be able to help me!


I wanted to go but I was only 15 and my dad said no. Good thing. I was a big fan of Dahl back then and hated Disco and still do.
Rich

BigP50
07-13-2009, 12:18 PM
I like the announcer that is like, "wow I hope they aren't showing this on TV thi sis one of the saddest sites I have ever seen, and well he is yelling it there actually showing".

FielderJones
07-13-2009, 12:34 PM
Missed it by 12 years, but ESPN just did a story on DDN.

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=4322315

He gone
07-13-2009, 12:47 PM
I took a date to the next night's game July 13th. Fireworks night. We sat under the score board. Bad place to sit with a date for fireworks night. It rains firework debris on you, like the '67 snowstorm.

Never the less the field was still torn up from the night before. And just like the Sox usually were in those years, they lost the game to the Tigers.

If I could apologize to that date 30 years later today, I would. :(:

I too was at the next night's game. We sat in the 1st row in the upper deck in right field. We had broken seats all around us. I did watch the game the previous night on channel 44 and I could not believe my eyes :o: I was 13 at the time and I was worried the may cancel the next night's game also.

viagracat
07-13-2009, 12:58 PM
I was 19 that Summer, was a RAD card carrying member (Rockers Against Disco). Now I kind of like Disco. Funny how age changes things. Anyway, can't say the Cubs stole the limelight that night! I guess it was an embarrassment, but not along the lines of Ligue, at least IMO. Wasn't it Barnum and Bailey that said theres no such thing as bad publicity?

I'm sure had I been there, I would have fun as usual.

Yeah, I hated disco at the time too, probably because I was laughed off the dance floor at a discotheque (sp?) a couple years before DDN. Now some of it is OK.

I was 22 in 1979 and liked to party, but you just somehow knew nothing good was going to come out of something like that from the get-go. It was the only time I remember being embarrassed to be a Sox fan.