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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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The finale

Posted 06-29-2009 at 11:34 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 06-29-2009 at 11:41 PM by TommyJohn

Cubs, Sox down to wire in finale

Chicago-June, 1969

By Joe Dick
Trib Reporter

The Cubs and White Sox met in the South Side ballyard for one more go-round before being forced by their respective schedules to cease hostilities and carry on with the rest of their seasons. The two teams sent off their fans with the kind of thriller that most of them had hoped for when they plunked down their hard-earned two bucks and change for the best seats in the house.

Gary Peters took the mound for the Sox in a bid to stave off a Cub sweep. Cub fans came out with banners, whistles, noisemakers and other forms of merriment, ready to make jolly upon the making of the final out. Peters said nothing doing and set about to mowing down a Cub lineup that had belted the Sox' once proud pitching staff for 13 runs over the previous two contests.

He got off to a shaky start, allowing two runners in the first before facing Ron Santo, who basked in the glow of a standing ovation from Cub fans-his reward for his two two-run homers yesterday. Santo had predicted a sweep of the team he contemptuously referred to as "Chicago's Double-A team." Peters made him pay, inducing him to ground into an inning-ending double play.

The Cubs again drew first blood in the top of the 2nd when Don Young lifted a sacrifice fly to score Ernie Banks from third.

That lead was short-lived, as the Sox countered with a run of their own in the bottom half when Ken Berry hit into a DP with runners on first and third. Beckert disdainfully ignored the runner scoring in order to get the twin-killing.

The teams battled at 1-1 for several innings. The score remained the same, but the game did not lack for excitement. In the 5th, Kessinger walked with one out and Beckert singled him to third. The two then attempted a double steal. Herrmann's peg to Hansen at second was not in time, but Hansen's return fire to Herrmann was on the mark, nailing Kessinger. Williams then fouled out to end the threat.

The Sox once again let scoring chances slip through their fingers. Twice they put runners on with two out, twice Ken Berry would fly out to end the inning.

The second of those two times was in the 6th, and the end came courtesy of Don Young, who made a spectacular grab of Berry's liner to snuff the rally. Young proceeded to keep his bid for Player of the Game honors alive by smacking a home run to left in the 7th inning, staking the Cubs to a 2-1 lead.

That is how it stood in the 9th when Leo Durocher made a critical tactical decision. With two out and one on, Leo decided to try and pad the Cubs' lead. He lifted Bill Hands, who had a masterful two-hitter working, in favor of rookie outfielder Oscar Gamble. Leo's move backfired when Gamble fanned to end the inning.

Ted Abernathy, ace reliever, took the mound in the 9th. All hands in the park were standing and cheering, Cub fans for a sweep, Sox fans for a rally.

Ed Herrmann started things by grounding out. Carlos May walked to bring hope, but Ken Berry struck out to bring the Cubs on the verge of the sweep.

Ron Hansen, playing second base in place of Knoop in manager Gutteridge's attempt to wake up his offense (Pete Ward played first in place of Gail Hopkins) kept hope alive with a single to place runners on first and third. It was the Sox' first hit since inning number 2.

Gary Peters was due up, and most certainly could have hit for himself, but Gutteridge took a risk and subbed him with Buddy Bradford in a bizarre righty-righty match up. "I had a hunch" says Gutteridge.

His hunch proved correct. Bradford smacked a shot past a desperately diving Ron Santo to plate the tying run and keep men on first and third. By now the old ballyard was shaking to its very foundations as Walt Williams stepped in against Abernathy. Fans from both sides were roaring at ear-shattering levels as Abernathy delivered one pitch-and Williams cracked a bloop single over the outstretched glove of Glenn Beckert to bring Carlos May home, where he was greeted by a happy mob of exuberant White Sox players.

White Sox fans celebrated this one with a frenzy not seen since the night of the sirens when they clinched the AL flag 10 years ago. To say they were desperate to take this one and salvage some pride in this season and this series would be an understatement.

Cub fans and players were shrugging this loss off.

"WE have bigger fish to fry" said Ron Santo, who went from hero to goat by going 0-4 with a strikeout. "We'll be playing in October. Who cares about them? WE just accounted for half their attendance."

"I really enjoyed this!" said Ernie Banks. "I hope we do it every year."

Cub fans were asked for reactions.

"It is NO BIG DEAL." said one. "They are celebrating like they won the World Series. Well, guess what? WE ARE winning the World Series this year! YEAHHHH!"

Sox fans and players were especially happy to get this one, most feeling like they had tossed a huge monkey off of their backs.

"It would have been a long winter had we been swept," said Bill Melton, who had a bad series overall. "We needed this one. I am going to get enough crap this winter from Sox fans for losing twice to the Cubs. A sweep would have been too much."

Gary Peters, whose great performance kept the Sox in it and won him Player of the Game honors right out from Don Young (who had already been voted the award) said "I'm just happy to win a game. I don't care if it's them or the Yankees."

One Sox fan said "After those first two games, I was emabarrassed to be a Sox fan. In fact, I hate Gutteridge, I hate Arthur Allyn, I hate the whole team because it stinks so bad. I think they ought to trade 'em all to Appleton. The A guys can't be much worse than these sorry sacks of bleep. But I feel much better today."

Another said "I am still going to hear a lot from Cub fan friends. I never, ever, ever taunt them when the Sox win, but those meanies let me have it the past two days. I'm glad we got at least one."

The series was a resounding financial success, pulling 45,000 plus into the dangerous ballyard for all three games. The leagues will doubtless wish to continue this series next year in Wrigley. A pity that it won't come about. The Sox most certainly are headed for Milwaukee next year, as not even the crowds pulled in by the Cubs will save them. Next year's series will doubtless be a match up between the visiting Milwaukee Brewers (the name proposed for the Sox once they are sold and gone) and the World Champion Chicago Cubs. YES!!! *Ahem.*

Game Summary

Cubs......010 000 100-2 6 0
Sox........010 000 002-3 5 1

Home Runs: Cubs-Young White Sox-None

Error: Cubs-None White Sox-Hansen


Winner-Peters Loser-Abernathy
Posted in APBA
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