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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 27,1974

Posted 12-16-2017 at 02:38 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 07-05-2018 at 07:26 PM by TommyJohn

April 27,1974
vs. Detroit Tigers
at White Sox Park

Just when the Sox thought it was safe to put the embarrassment of streakers and strippers that was Opening Day behind them...

It was Seat Cushion Night at White Sox Park, with the first 20,000 fans receiving a flat, seat-sized cushion with the White Sox insignia on it for those times when they encountered an uncomfortable wooden or metal chair. They could simply put the cushion on the seat to prevent having sore asses. However, about 2,000 or so asses found a different use for the cushions.

The Sox went into the game 7-9, which doesn't look so bad if you realize that they were now 7-1 since starting out 1-8. They looked as if they might be starting to get things together and making a decent run.

32,737, the largest crowd of the young season, turned out for this one. It was about halfway through the game that the fur-and cushions-began to fly.

The Sox got a quick 1-0 lead in the 2nd, but Detroit tied it in the 3rd when shortstop Eddie Brinkman, one of the weakest hitters in the Tiger lineup and the American League, smacked a home run to deep left field off Jim Kaat. Then, as if to prove his shot wasn't a fluke, he drove another one into the left field seats off Kaat to lead off the top of the 5th for his first two-homer game in five years.

Kaat was relieved two batters later with two out when he issued a walk to Mickey Stanley. Rich Gossage came on, walked Al Kaline, then had to leave the game mid-batter after injuring himself while pitching to Willie Horton. Hurler Skip Pitlock came on and walked Horton to load the bases, though the pass was credited to Gossage.

Pitlock proceeded to completely lose sight of home plate. His next pitch plunked Bill Freehan to force in a run. He then walked the next two batters on eight straight pitches. Chuck Tanner came to the rescue and inserted rookie Bill "Bugs" Moran, who got the Sox out of the inning. The Sox now trailed 6-1 and the fun was just starting.

It started in the top of the 6th, when many in the crowd decided to start pounding the cushions on any surface that was handy. So many of them were being slammed that Tribune reporter George Langford wrote that the din sounded akin to a stampede of buffalo and almost (but not quite) drowned out Harry Caray.

It got worse when Stanley bounced a grounder to Ron Santo, playing out of position at 2nd base. Santo bobbled it and Stanley was safe. This proved too much for the crowd, which began to throw the cushions out onto the field. The park was a literal shower of seat cushions as fans booed and tossed. The game was delayed for 10 minutes while the grounds crew cleaned up the mess.

That wasn't the end of it, however. In the bottom of the 6th with a man on, Bill Melton socked a home run with Dick Allen on base to narrow the Tiger lead to 6-3. As Melton rounded the bases and the scoreboard went off, another shower of seat cushions began flying onto the field.

Finally home plate umpire and crew chief Bill Haller pulled the Tigers off the field. The announcement was made that if the fans persisted in throwing the cushions on the field, the game would be forfeited to the Tigers. After five minutes, play resumed.

The cushion tossing finally stopped, but many persisted in pounding the cushions throughout the rest of the game.

A forfeit would not have made much difference, as the Tigers won anyway, 8-3. The loss put the White Sox at 7-10 and back in last place in the AL West. Even worse, the Sox now had a second incident of wild, embarrassing fan behavior in less than a month to try to deal with. In his summary of the game George Langford referred to White Sox Park as "Chicago's new zoo."
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