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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 game

Posted 07-04-2009 at 09:37 AM by TommyJohn
Updated 02-06-2010 at 05:50 PM by TommyJohn

Thread on White Sox fan message board:

This Date in White Sox History:

October 5, 1964 The White Sox hook up with the Yankees in a one-game playoff at Comiskey Park to decide the AL pennant after both teams finish the season in a 99-63 tie. Al Lopez taps lefty Juan Pizarro to start the game, Yankee manager Yogi Berra rolls the dice and goes with Whitey Ford on two days' rest in an effort to neutralize a White Sox hitting "attack" that couldn't hit left handers. Pizarro and Ford match zeros for 6 innings, with both teams blowing scoring opportunities.
The Sox broke through in the 7th, when Pete Ward and ex-Yankee Bill Skowron stroked back-to-back doubles for a 1-0 lead. Dave Nicholson then stepped up and smacked a 2 run homer to send the crowd of 45,347 into ecstasy.
The Yankees did not go quietly. Mickey Mantle smashed a long home run into the CF bullpen with one out into the 9th, and Tom Tresh followed with a walk. Sox fans nervously chewed their nails as Elston Howard's hot smash was snared by Pete Ward, who fired across the diamond for the second out. Joe Pepitone then hit a sky high pop up. Ron Hansen excitedly waved Ward off of it and gloved it for the third out. The team joyously mobbed Jaun Pizarro and the fans celebrated their first pennant in 5 long years.

excerpt from SOX! A Fan's Memoir by Dick Dopey (Diamond Communications, South Bend, IN. 2006)

We all felt a glimmer of hope in the third. Ron Hansen popped an easy fly to left which Tom Tresh dropped. After two outs, a single to Landis and a walk to Don Buford loaded them up for my favorite player Floyd Robinson. I was cocky and confident that my man would come through. I began to look like a genius when Robby smashed a drive to center that looked as if it would drop. Mickey Mantle, running on two bad legs, a hangover, and lack of sleep from partying until 5 AM (kind of like me after a hot Hollywood party) came out of nowhere, however, and made the catch at knee length to end the threat.

We all got nervous in the 4th when the Yanks put runners on first and third, but Juan Pizarro (a real party animal like me) induced Elston Howard to fly out to end the inning.

The Sox had another chance in the 5th, when Ron Hansen once again took advantage of Tom Tresh's generosity, reaching first when the Yankee again dropped a fly. With one out, Juan Pizarro attempted to bunt Hansen over. The Piz binked a bunt right in the air. Howard leaped up, grabbed it, then fired a perfect rope to Pepitone at first to double off Hansen.

The 7th inning rolled around with the score knotted 0-0. That was nothing compared to the knots in all of our stomachs. The game had been a series of highs and lows. By the seventh I was beginning to feel like Britney Spears (whom I know personally) off her meds. I wanted to make like Winona Ryder (I dated her once. No, seriously, I did.) and steal a win for the Sox. It got to the point where we were all convinced that the first team to score would win the game.

Pete Ward finally got something going when he slammed a double. Bill Skowron cracked another double to score Ward. The whole park shook to the rafters when Skowron's hit dropped and Ward scored. That brought my little brother's favorite to the plate.

"Come on, Dave! Hit a homer!" My brother screamed. I chuckled knowingly. I didn't have the heart to tell him about Nick's .220 batting average and strikeout fever. How could I? He was a little kid. Dave Nicholson was as much of a god to him as Mickey Mantle. Big Nick, Big Mick; they were interchangeable to him. I knew better-the only similarities between the two were that they were both outfielders with blond crewcuts.

Nick interrupted my thoughts with a mighty swing. Bat and ball connected in such a way that we knew immediately that it was gone. It was the sound, the POCK! that did it. Once we heard it, we were on our feet. The ball landed in the right field seats. My brother jumped up and down, the happiest little four year old on the face of the earth.
The entire crowd roared as the scoreboard balsted happily away.

The 9th inning arrived with the Sox ahead 3-0. The entire park was buzzing with excitement. The Sox were three outs from the World Series! We tried not to get our hopes up. My father had been to too many games where the Yankees had come back. These games had scarred him for life, left him a wreck of a man.

Roger Maris grounded out for the first out. Two to go! Then came Mickey Mantle. He swung at Pizarro pitch. The crowd let out a loud "ooooooooh" as it took off toward centerfield. Jim Landis drifted back and watched the ball sail into the bullpen. Had my father been there, he would've said "Here we go. It's gonna happen. Yankees win."

Tom Tresh then drew a walk. Fans began chewing their nails. The words of my father echoed in my head. Elston Howard scared us all with a hard grounder toward 3rd, but Pete Ward stabbed it and fired to first for the out. One to go.

Joe Pepitone, now more famous for his wigs than anything else, stepped up, again as the tying run. We all stood up-me, my mom, my brother, the entire crowd. I had never seen anything like it, nor would I again until the time I kissed Jennifer Lopez on the cheek.

Pepitone whacked a high fly ball. My heart stopped, until I saw Ron Hansen step out in shallow left and excitedly waved Pete Ward off the ball. The ball hung up there for what seemed like forever. Hansen stood there, looking up, glove upraised. Time stood still. The ball seemed to come down in a slow motion sequence like something out of a movie by my good, good friend Marty. Hansen gloved the ball for the final out. The team ran to the mound to happily mob Pizarro.

I jumped up and down and hugged my little brother. The entire crowd roared. Some fans ran out onto the field to celebrate. The Sox were going to the World Series again!




Excerpt from The Yankee Dynasty: 1949-63 by Maury Honig (Simon and Schuster, New York 1988)

In retrospect, many Yankee fans always wonder if the Yankee dynasty died too soon. They always wonder if the dynasty could have gone on and on into perpetuity if they had won it in 1964.....

Yankee fans still bitterly hold Yogi Berra responsible for the defeat, based on his decision to start Whitey Ford on two days' rest. The move proved to be a disasterous one that cost Berra his job.

"I would do the same thing again tomorrow" says Berra...
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