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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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1974 offseason 2

Posted 01-29-2018 at 08:38 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 09-07-2019 at 08:51 AM by TommyJohn

Dick Allen was determined to play for the White Sox in 1975. He pleaded with Hemond to bring him back, even though he was the property of the Braves and the interleague trading deadline had passed. In desperation Allen charged the White Sox with depriving him of making a living by trading him to a team for whom he did not want to play. The players said they would gladly take him back if he apologized for walking out on them before the season was over.

Tanner and Hemond finally agreed to meet with Allen about the possibility of returning to the team, despite the red tape of interleague trading rules. A meeting was set up at the Sox spring training facilities. However, word leaked to the Chicago media that Allen would be at camp. Allen feared a media circus and was a no-show to the meeting.

And that, as they say, was that insofar as Tanner and Hemond were concerned. Even saintly Chuck had his limits. The Sox closed the book on Dick Allen for good. The most exciting, electrifying player on the south side in many years was history.

With Allen gone, the question was who would succeed him at 1st base? Tony Muser? He had filled in nicely for Allen in 1973, but was nowhere near the hitter Allen was. Tanner decided that Carlos May, who had played 1st base in 1971 and was found lacking on defense, was his man for the coming season.

One exciting player in camp expected to win a roster spot was Lamar Johnson, a 23 year old who had torn up Triple A Iowa and had a cup of coffee with the parent club. Johnson was big and had power, which the Sox would need more of with Allen gone.

Tanner, who preferred veterans to rookies, went in a different direction. He cut 23 year old Lamar Johnson and claimed 36 year old Deron Johnson on waivers. Deron had been around since 1960 and had batted .171 playing for three teams in 1974.

Speaking of Johnsons, Bart was ready to go in 1975 after regaining his form. Then came a spring game against the Reds in which Bart slipped on a rain-soaked mound while throwing a pitch and wrenched his back. The injury was the same as Bill Melton's in 1972 and did not bode well for the year or Bart's career. Johnson went on the disabled list. Tanner and Hemond acquired NL veteran Claude Osteen, who had gone 9-11 with a 3.80 ERA in 1974, to replace Johnson in the rotation.

Getting back to Dick Allen, owner John Allyn may have had a deeper motive for refusing to take the 1st baseman back other than pride. Namely, if they did, the Sox would owe Allen $225,000 in the last year of his contract. Allyn just did not have the money to pay him. Years of investing in the team (the Sox had the second highest payroll in baseball in 1974, and Tanner was one of the highest paid managers) with diminishing returns had caught up to him.

This was apparent right at the end of spring training. The Sox had to trade catcher Ed Herrmann, the team's solid rock behind the plate since 1969, to the New York Yankees, who already had a solid catcher in Thurman Munson. The reason for the trade was that Allyn could not afford to give Herrmann a $2,000 pay raise. To the White Sox came Ken Bennett, Terry Quinn, Fred Anyzeski and John Narron-none of whom would ever play a single inning in the major leagues.
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