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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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Game of the Year 1972

Posted 01-14-2017 at 09:46 AM by TommyJohn
Updated 07-30-2017 at 11:02 PM by TommyJohn

Game of the Year 1972
August 12 vs. Oakland A's
at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

In the beginning, there was the trade.

On December 2, 1971 Roland Hemond went into the trade market seeking another bat for the line up. At the recommendation of manager Tanner, Hemond went after Dick Allen of the Dodgers, eventually landing him in exchange for lefty Tommy John.

Allen had been a rebellious player and contentious presence in Philadelphia, where the notoriously rough Phillie fans booed and heaped abuse upon him. Pit stops in St. Louis and L.A. did little to quell his rebellious spirit, and Allen found himself on his way to the South Side.

Allen's immediate reaction was to threaten to retire. He had been happy in LA and didn't want to go to Chicago. A pep talk from Chuck Tanner (an Allen family friend from back in their high school days in Pennsylvania) and a financial inducement from John Allyn (re: a big, fat pay raise that Allen demanded) changed his mind and he reported to work on April 1.

That happened to be the exact same day that the players called the first labor strike in baseball history. A week's worth of games were lost. The strike cost the Sox an expected Opening Day gate of 50,000.

Instead, their home opener happened on the night of April 18, vs. the Texas Rangers, who they blew out 14-0, a far cry from the humiliating 12-0 loss to the Twins two years earlier.

It didn't take long for Dick Allen to become the star of the show. He hit a dramatic homer in the 9th inning in the opener at Kansas City, (days before the home opener). He blasted a game-winning home run vs. Cleveland later in the month. And, in one of the great games of Sox history, capped a June 4 double header sweep of the Yankees seen by 51,904 with a dramatic three-run, pinch hit home run in the bottom of the 9th.

Nevertheless, bad luck had to rear its ugly head. In June, Bill Melton, the 1971 AL Home Run Champ, was lost for the year with a back injury he had initially sustained in the off-season.

Allen continued to tear AL pitching apart all year, but my choice for Game of the Year involves the Sox' other star, pitcher Wilbur Wood.

it occurred on August 12 vs. the favored A's in Oakland. Wood, pitching most of the year on two days rest, locked up with Blue Moon Odom in a pitching duel for the ages.

The Sox, who had been 8 1/2 games back on July 19, went into the game only percentage points behind the A's.

Wood had a 1-hit shutout with two out in the 9th when Brant Alyea tied it with a home run.

In the top of the 11th, Ed Speizio, Melton's replacement at 3rd base, cracked a two run home run to break the tie. Wood retired the A's in the bottom half. Two years after going 56-106 and being dead in Chicago, the Sox were now in 1st place, .001 points ahead of the mighty, defending AL West Champion Oakland A's.

That was the high mark, though. They dropped out of 1st weeks later, ending hopes of a Miracle On 35th Street.

Still, Allen led the AL in home runs (including two inside-the-park jobs in one game at Minnesota and a titanic 500 foot blast into the centerfield bleachers at White Sox Park) and RBI and was the runaway choice for AL Most Valuable Player.

He also brought the fans back. Attendance jumped from 495,355 and dead last in the AL in 1970 to 1,177,138 and 3rd in 1972. Things were looking very good for 1973.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/bo...97208120.shtml
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