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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 5,1974

Posted 12-13-2017 at 07:23 AM by TommyJohn
Updated 10-19-2018 at 06:55 AM by TommyJohn

April 5,1974
vs. California Angels
at White Sox Park

Chuck's charges broke camp at the end of March with the skipper overflowing with his usual optimism. Tanner called the 1974 edition of the White Sox the best-balanced team since he had come to Chicago. He went so far as to say that it was the strongest team in club history.

Robert Markus wasn't feeling Tanner's optimism. Not only did he pick the Sox to finish third, he wasn't too hopeful about how things would end for Tanner and Dick Allen.

"But I have a feeling that this is the year that Dick Allen situation is going to come apart for Tanner" Markus wrote. "If Allen and the Sox get off to a good start, it won't. But if they get away from the gate slowly, watch out."

Bill Melton won the heavily-hyped (by the media) "Battle of Third Basemen" and would take the field on Opening Day manning the hot corner, with Ron Santo working as the club's Designated Hitter.

Ron said being on the south side and being the DH would feel "different." But he praised the club as close-knit and for making him feel welcome. He spoke highly of Dick Allen as the team leader and how Chuck Tanner treated everyone differently. He had been prepared to be the DH, he said adding that he'd get his time in the field spelling the others. "We'll all appreciate this arrangement toward the end of the season" he said.

30,041 fans turned out on an overcast 37 degree day to watch the Sox open the season. The game would be a duel between Wilbur Wood, tosser of the laziest, slowest, most baffling knuckleball in baseball and Nolan Ryan, possessor of one of the best blazing fastballs in baseball, one that enabled him to pitch two no-hitters and whiff a record 383 batters in 1973.

Ryan and Wood were even for seven innings of a game that dragged on for three hours. This was due mainly to Ryan issuing 10 walks to Sox batters. Wood, on the other hand, walked three.

The Sox jumped on Ryan for runs in the 1st and 2nd, the Angels tallied one in the 2nd, tied it in the 6th, then took a 3-2 lead in the 7th.

Meanwhile, the activity in the stands began to overshadow the goings on in the field. At several points fights broke out, mainly in the outfield grandstands. It was also the height of the streaking craze that had begun on college campuses, and several well-oiled fans felt the urge to get a piece of that streaking action.

One of them was a well endowed woman identified as Anne Marie, a stripper known from the previous season's Bears games. She stood up in right field and began walking through the stands, taking off layers of clothing as she went. Eventually, she whipped off her blouse, revealing nothing on underneath, much to the delight of the men in that section. Security eventually caught up to her and hauled her away. For that, they were booed.

Her natural gifts weren't the only boobs on display. Another one was a guy who ran out onto the field wearing a White Sox souvenir batting helmet. That in itself wasn't unusual, but what was is that the helmet was all he was wearing. He ran out to the infield, did a dance, ran back to the stands, then back to the field to retrieve his helmet, which had fallen off; all the while flapping in the breeze as he went. "I wasn't impressed by him" Tanner said later.

Still another was a large-gutted guy with massive belly overhang who, after enough liquid courage, decided that everyone in the ballpark, nay, the world, was dying to see him naked. So he peeled down to his boxer shorts, which he dropped to his knees. There was also the 63 year old gent who thought "why should the young 'uns have all the fun?" and paraded around the stands in his long underwear. And as the game dragged on, the beer continued to flow and the fists and bottles continued to fly.

Let's see, where was I? Oh, yes. The game. The Angels broke it open with five runs in the 8th off Terry Forster, thanks in part to two bases loaded walks and a sacrifice fly.

Ex-Cub Dick Selma set down the Sox in the 9th. Dick Allen, who was booed after striking out with men on base in the 7th, flied out to bring the game to a merciful end. Final score stood at 8-2, Angels.

After the game Selma said it was the worst crowd he'd seen since Opening Day, 1970 in Wrigley Field when drunken, brawling fans had disrupted the game, started fights and jumped the outfield walls onto the field. Ex-Sox and current Angels Tom Egan and Tommie McCraw agreed that it was the worst crowd they had ever seen.

Dick Allen offered his own explanation as to what caused the all the shenanigans in the stands.

"We didn't give them much to hold their attention, but we will" he said.

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