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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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April 11 & 12,1973

Posted 10-14-2017 at 03:16 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 06-25-2018 at 09:32 PM by TommyJohn

April 11 & 12,1973
vs. Oakland A's
at White Sox Park

Somebody up there just seemed to have it in for John Allyn. For the second year in a row, a large Opening Day crowd is expected at White Sox Park. For the second year in a row, the opener is postponed.

In 1972, it was human nature-demanding players + stubborn owners = season delaying strike that cost the Sox an opening day gate of 50,000. In 1973, it was Mother Nature-temperatures in the 30s + wet field from rain = weather postponement that costs them another opener that promised a near-capacity crowd.

The weather is bad all across the US, as the Sox' season-opening series with Texas is reduced from three games to one. So the Sox go back to Chicago 1-0.

The delays afforded Chuck Tanner a chance to start his favorite pitcher Wilbur Wood two games in a row. Woodie's mound opponent will be Vida Blue, fresh off having signed a new contract with the A's.

A lot had happened to the A's since they last met the Sox. They had defeated Billy Martin's Tigers in an emotional, exciting five game ALCS to clinch their first AL pennant since Connie Mack's Philadelphia boys had won it 41 years earlier, then taken down the Reds in seven to win their first World Series since 1930. The 99-loss team of 1967 that destroyed the Sox' season with that crushing doubleheader sweep on September 27 was now the undisputed king of baseball. The Sox, appearing to be recovered from that season and the subsequent three year tailspin, are expected to strongly challenge, even topple the A's from the throne.

Sal Bando isn't worried, saying that the A's won the previous year despite stars like Reggie Jackson and Vida Blue having off-years.This year, with Reggie and Vida at full strength, Sal expects the A's to be even more unbeatable.

The temps on this day were little better than the day before-it's in the 40s when the pregame ceremonies begin. The cold holds the crowd down to 22,091, not even half of what was expected the day before.

The game is a close one for 5 innings-Reggie Jackson and Dick Green drive runs across for Oakland while Blue uncorks a wild pitch that scores outfielder Johnny Jeter.

It stays 2-1 until the A's break it open in the 6th-Joe Rudi's home run is one of 3 runs that chase Wood and bring in Steve Stone, the second piece of the big winter trade with San Francisco.

Stone is rock solid until the 8th, when the World Champions bust it wide open with a 6 spot. The big blows are a two run single by Gonzalo Marquez and a three run jack by Angel Mangual.

The A's temper the Opening Day festivities with a 12-2 win, with Vida Blue going the distance. The Sox have work ahead of them if they expect to overtake the A's.

The Sox and A's hook up for the second game of their series after the 12-2 pounding the A's inflicted the day before. The Sox' newest acquisition Ken Henderson winds up the star of this game.

A's catcher Gene Tenace, who made history by homering in his first two World Series at-bats in 1972, opens the scoring with a two run homer in the 2nd off starter Stan Bahnsen.

The Sox even the score with Henderson figuring in it both times-he scores in the 2nd on a sacrifice fly by Ed Herrmann; then in the 4th he comes up with the bases loaded and bounces into a double play to score Dick Allen from 3rd-the A's concede the tying run in order to get the double play.

The A's break the tie in the top of the 8th when they load the bases. The ever-confident Sal Bando draws a walk off reliever Terry Forster that scores Bill North, a speedy outfielder acquired that winter from the Cubs.

The Sox aren't finished, though. In the 8th starter Catfish Hunter gives up a single to Pat Kelly, then yields to Darold Knowles, who walks Carlos May on a full count before Dick Williams yanks him in favor of Rollie Fingers.

Fingers bears down and strikes out Dick Allen, then yields a walk to Bill Melton that loads the bases once again for Henderson. This time Ken makes the A's pay a bigger price-he steps into a Fingers delivery and sends it into the right field stands to give the Sox a 6-3 lead. The grand slam is Henderson's first AL home run and his third career bases loaded homer.

Terry Forster gives up a one out single in the 9th, but gets Angel Mangual on a strikeout and Bill North on a ground out to earn the win in relief of Bahnsen. Darold Knowles, who faced exactly one batter who happened to be the go-ahead run, is tagged with the loss.

Dick Allen, who jumped around in the dugout after Henderson's slam, is ecstatic that he at last has someone hitting behind him that can deliver big hits.

"I'm looking for that a lot this year," he said after the game. "Not that I'm going to sit back and wait for it, but we have the guys now that can do it. If I don't, someone else will pick me up.

"And Ken will do that a lot. He's a good, sound ball player."

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