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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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July 19,1976

Posted 04-02-2018 at 09:54 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 08-18-2019 at 10:36 AM by TommyJohn

July 19,1976
vs. New York Yankees
at Comiskey Park

The Sox split their series with the Brewers, then welcomed the 1st place Yankees to the south side. The Bronx Bombers were a team reborn in 1976 and looked on their way to the AL East title. They certainly looked invincible against the Sox, who were 1-9 against them in 1976.

There really wasn't anything exciting or dramatic about the game on this date, except from a personal standpoint. This was the first night game I ever attended, and once again I was with my father. It was pretty exciting for me. I couldn't help but look up in awe at the giant light towers glowing in the night.

But first, there was the rain. A storm rolled in and inundated Comiskey Park before the game started. Several shirtless, long haired goofs took advantage and cavorted around on the tarpaulin. Meanwhile I cried, because I was afraid of thunder, which was rumbling all over the place. My frustrated father tried several times to calm me down. At one point a large bolt of lightning split the air right in front of the right field stands and was followed immediately by a loud crash of thunder that shook the entire ballpark. George Langford in his game story referred to it as a "light shower" which is funny to me, because I remember it being a downpour.

The rain finally ended after about 90 minutes and the game got underway. The Yankees struck first in the 3rd inning when Sandy Alomar singled, moved to 2nd on a sacrifice and scored on a single by Mickey Rivers.

The Sox took the lead in the bottom half when Jim Spencer and Pat Kelly singled. Kevin Bell drove Spencer home with a single and Wayne Nordhagen drove Kelly home with a sacrifice fly.

The Sox had a chance in the bottom of the 5th when Pat Kelly drew a one out walk. Yankee pitcher Ed Figueroa proceeded to throw over to first several times in an effort to pin Kelly down. After what seemed to me like ten straight throws, Figueroa finally wore Kelly down and picked him off. After issuing a walk to Kevin Bell, he struck out Nordhagen to end the inning.

The Yankees tied it in the 7th when Chris Chambliss singled and came around on a double by Juan Bernhardt.

The game went on pretty late, due to the rain delay. By the late innings it was past 11 o'clock. Now it appeared that it would head into extra innings, which might push it past midnight.

Around this time my father, his eyelids half closed and his voice heavy with exhaustion, told me "if the game goes into extra innings, we're going to leave."

"But I wanna stay!" I whined back. And why not? I'm not the one who had to get up at 5AM for work.

The Sox did me no favors in the bottom of the 8th. They put two on with one out. Paul Richards called on Ken Brett to pinch hit, and he responded by grounding into an inning ending double play.

The Yankees heard my young pleas. At least I think they did. Well, whenever fans of other teams write about being at games, everyone and everything seems to revolve around them. So I'll say they did.

Thurman Munson doubled to lead off the top of the 9th, then headed for 3rd on a Chambliss bunt. The Yanks got a gift when Jack Brohamer fielded the bunt and threw wildly to 1st, allowing Munson to score and give the Yankees a 3-2 lead.

The Sox had one last chance, and they responded by putting men on 1st and 2nd with one out against Sparky Lyle. The Spark bore down after that, inducing Lamar Johnson and Kevin Bell to fly out to end the game close to midnight.

Well, I look on the bright side. I got my wish-we didn't leave before the game ended.

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