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TommyJohn
05-21-2006, 11:26 AM
I just noticed that a noteworthy anniversary in White Sox history passed
yesterday.

On May 20, 1973 the largest crowd in the history of Chicago baseball
crammed their way into old Comiskey Park to see a Bat Day doubleheader
between the White Sox and Twins. The attendance was announced as
55,555. It seems unbelievable seeing as that was well over the park's
capacity. The crowd saw Wilbur Wood win Game 1 9-3, backed up by
home runs from Bill Melton and Carlos May. The Twins would take the
2nd game 3-0.

I can't help but contrast that DH with another one played on September 21,
1970 at Comiskey vs. the Kansas City Royals. Bill Melton became the first
White Sox player to hit 30 home runs in a season when he connected in
Game 1; thus breaking the team record of 29 held jointly by Gus Zernial
and Eddie Robinson. Not as pulse-pounding as Mickey and Roger's race
to 61, this moment was witnessed by a crowd of 672.

As for the straight 5's achieved on 5/20/73, I'd say that with the capacity
of both ballparks well below that figure, it is likely to stand for a very long
time.

vegyrex
05-21-2006, 11:31 AM
I bet I was there!!! Back then they gave out real bats, not the toy ones they do today. I have two bats given out on bat days. One for Bill Melton for being the home run champ for '71, and one for Dick Allen for being AL MVP for '72.

EdHerman12
05-21-2006, 12:18 PM
I missed that game by 1 day! I was at the game on Friday the 19th and I seem to remember the Twins beating us. Stan Bahnsen got thumped. Back then the Twins had Carew, Oliva, Hisle. Also I think this was the back end of a home and away series. We had lost 2 of 2 at old Metropolitan Stadium, then came here and lost I think 3 of 4? Also Jim Kaat beat us in one of the games and a few weeks later was traded here, and did pretty good for us. I think the Twinkies catcher was George Mitterwald aka "The Baron" who would become a future Flubbie a few seasons later....

GO SOX!

PaulDrake
05-21-2006, 12:48 PM
1973 was a season ruined by injuries and the meddling of Stu Holcomb. When I heard some complaining about the Sox getting the breaks last October I rembember years like 1973. We've still got lots of "breaks" coming our way if you ask me.

Lip Man 1
05-21-2006, 01:15 PM
I was at that game. To his death Bill Veeck refused to believe the attendance figure from that day. I will tell you it could very well have happened. The catwalks for example connecting the left field stands to the main scoreboard and the main scoreboard to the right field stands were jammed and full with standing room only fans.

I've never seen anything like that before.

Lip

mike squires
05-21-2006, 01:44 PM
My dad was at that game. Was it a blue bat? I still got that baby. It's also signed by Bill Melton. My dad talks about that game a lot.

sullythered
05-21-2006, 01:48 PM
I bet I was there!!! Back then they gave out real bats, not the toy ones they do today. I have two bats given out on bat days. One for Bill Melton for being the home run champ for '71, and one for Dick Allen for being AL MVP for '72.
They can't give out real bats now, because Sox fans are so dangerous.

Infallible
05-21-2006, 01:54 PM
They gave out bats years back at Old Comiskey against the Yankees where Andy Hawkins tossed an unofficial no hitter in a loss against the Palehose.

soxfanreggie
05-21-2006, 01:57 PM
My uncle has a nice display with that bat in his house. I love listening to my father and uncles tell me their old stories of the ballpark.

Brian26
05-21-2006, 06:41 PM
I was at that game. To his death Bill Veeck refused to believe the attendance figure from that day. I will tell you it could very well have happened. The catwalks for example connecting the left field stands to the main scoreboard and the main scoreboard to the right field stands were jammed and full with standing room only fans.

I've never seen anything like that before.

Lip

What was the official capacity of old Comiskey at that point? Wasn't it around 49,000? How in the world did they allow 8,000 more people in? Even if they let people stand in the picnic area and in the aisles, wouldn't they be breaking Fire Code? Sounds like a dangerous situation.

RadioheadRocks
05-21-2006, 06:52 PM
My dad was at that game. Was it a blue bat? I still got that baby. It's also signed by Bill Melton. My dad talks about that game a lot.

I remember these were regular wood bats with no additional coloring. The ones from 1974 were bright red (and it was a night game); I believe the blue bats were from either 1975 or 1976.

DannyCaterFan
05-21-2006, 07:24 PM
I remember that day very well. It was a Sunday bat day doubleheader and at the time the White Sox were surging, battling Oakland for first place. I had just come home from active duty in the US Coast Guard, two days before and my soon wife to be surprised me with tickets to the game. I had never, ever seen the park filled like that day. People were everywhere, on the Catwalk, the aisles, picnic area. The capacity at that time was close to 48,000, but they had an excellent walk up.
The excitement of 1973 would end soon as Dick Allen would get hurt and miss the rest of the season. I will never forget the 55,555.

fincher
05-21-2006, 10:29 PM
I was there, too. I still have the bat and ticket stub. It was my first White Sox game.

JohnBasedowYoda
05-21-2006, 10:32 PM
I wish I was there...I barely remember the old park!! Why wasn't I born in the 70s!?

Chips
05-21-2006, 10:48 PM
I wish I was there...I barely remember the old park!! Why wasn't I born in the 70s!?

No ****, I was only at a few games at the old park, and I remember sitting down the third baseline until someone kicked us out of their seats and found our seats to be behind a pole and I think Carlos Martinez hit a jack.

Chez
05-22-2006, 09:12 AM
I was there with my dad and brothers. I think Eddie Fisher pitched the second game. I still have the game program/scorecard!

Buddy_Bradford
05-22-2006, 12:06 PM
I was there too. The weather was great and I remember the catwalks by the scoreboard packed to the gills and people sitting in the aisles in the outfield. My brother got a Luis Alvarado bat (standard wood grain, no coloration in those days, and, yes, a real sized bat!) that actually lasted a few years (my Carlos May model lasted two or three days at best). It was mayhem, but I don't remember any altercations in the stands.

roylestillman
05-22-2006, 12:16 PM
The seating capacity of the old Comiskey was about 45,000. They used to sell standing room at a pretty unlimited clip, though. I was at a Sunday Angels game duriing the second Veeck era where the announced crowd was around 50,000 and it was downright scary as pepole just sat in the aisles.

My bet is that the 55,555 was only possible due to people getting their bats and leaving (or leaving after the first game) and another group showing up to take their place

dirty_k
05-22-2006, 12:19 PM
I'm 90% sure I was there. Definitely remember being at a bat-day double-header (amongst other bat days) but don't recall those details. I wonder if those bats are worth anything today. I certainly don't have any that are in mint condition.

Home run records are nice but that's not why the game is played which is part of the reason for the small crowd at the 30 HR game. Today's media focuses on the wrong aspects of the game (star players, HR's, simulated games, etc. rather the wins and losses).

Dan H
05-22-2006, 12:47 PM
I was there and I don't know if 55,555 actually showed, but I still haven't seen anything like since. People stood and sat in the ailses. The noise was deafeaning. It was truly an amazing day considering the team drew flies in 1970 and 1971. Too bad the team collapsed with multiple injuries that year and we would have to wait another 10 years for a divison title.