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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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June 10,1971

Posted 07-29-2017 at 04:41 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 06-25-2018 at 10:56 PM by TommyJohn

June 10, 1971
vs. Cleveland Indians
at Cleveland Municipal Stadium

The White Sox have a proud tradition at the shortstop position, starting with Luke Appling, who made his debut in 1930 and held down the position until 1950, en route to the Hall of Fame.

He was succeeded by the fielding wizardry of Chico Carresquel, who held the position until Luis Aparicio arrived in 1956, and made dazzling plays and stole bases during two tenures on the south side on his way to the Hall of Fame. The White Sox turn out shortstops like the Yankees turn out centerfielders.

Bee Bee Richard will never be mentioned in the same sentence with any of the above names, except perhaps as a trivia question. Hardly all his fault, true. The White Sox rushed him up after only one season in the minors to take over for the departed Luis. He had a giant-sized, future Hall of Fame glove to fill. The pressure was surely enormous.

Bee Bee was good as advertised, speed-wise. But he was a weak hitter and a worse fielder, dropping grounder after grounder to take the league lead in errors at his position. On this night, it could be surmised that the pressure finally got to him.

In the first inning, Tom Bradley got one out, but gave up a double to Vada Pinson and a single to Ray Fosse that moved Pinson to 3rd. The next batter, rookie Chris Chambliss, hit a "chopper, two-hopper" right at Richard. Second baseman Luis Alvarado moved over to the base for the easy flip and pivot throw to 1st that would take the Sox out of the inning with no score. Instead, the Beebs shocked everyone in the ballpark, including his teammates, by throwing home in an attempt to get Pinson. The throw wound up high, and a surprised Tom Egan could only leap for it and take a futile swipe at Pinson, who was safe on a fielder's choice.

The Indians scored two more in the 1st, then Fosse tagged Bradley for a 3 run homer in the 2nd to help Cleveland coast to a 9-0 win.

"I thought there was nobody out" Bee Bee explained as he slumped in front of his locker at the end of the game. "I saw Pinson going home and wanted to get him, even though I knew there was time for the double play."

Bradley, trooper that he was, refused to throw Richard under the bus.

"That's going to happen" he said. "I shouldn't have thrown that curve ball to Fosse and I especially shouldn't have walked the pitcher."

The most serious consequence of Richard's action was that Chuck Tanner's seemingly bottomless well of patience had at last run dry.

"I'm going to rest him for a while" Tanner said. "You can't make those kind of mistakes, rookie or not."

After this, Richard's name would appear in the Sox lineup less and less. By the end of the season Stu Holcomb would be advertising for a new shortstop.

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