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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 4,1972

Posted 09-03-2017 at 08:34 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 06-25-2018 at 09:04 PM by TommyJohn

June 4,1972
vs. New York Yankees
at White Sox Park

The Sox go into this day still smarting from the 18-10 lashing laid on them by the Yankees the day before. They are in 2nd place in the AL West, behind the defending champ Oakland A's.

The first big news of this DH was the crowd. It was Bat Day at Sox Park, and 51,904 fans jammed their way into every single inch of available space to see the game. It was a far cry from the 672 people who yawned through the Sox-Royals DH on 9/21/70. It was also the largest crowd to witness a Sox game since July 27,1954, also against the Yankees. These Sox were definitely generating excitement amongst the fan base.

Tom Bradley went up against Mel Stottlemyre in game 1. Bradley made one mistake that Ron Blomberg hit for a home run.

Mike Andrews and Carlos May each hit two run singles to give the Sox a 4-1 advantage. Bill Melton homered for another run.

Dick Allen gave the huge crowd a thrill in the 8th when he swiped home plate as part of a double steal with Melton. The slugging 1st baseman could do it all, it seemed. And when it came to this particular day, the steal was just a warm up for the grand finale.

Chuck Tanner decided to give his friend and best player a break for game 2. Allen had played every inning of every game of the season thus far, and the skipper figured Dick deserved a breather. Allen sat on the bench holding a bat and quietly watched the action.

Most of the crowd was sated by the Sox' 6-1 win and went home. Fewer than 15,000 stuck around for nightcap, which the Tribune was sure to note.

Dave Lemonds took the mound for the Sox and had a 2-1 lead in the 6th when the Yankees took advantage of a Luis Alvarado error to tie the game. Rich Gossage relieved Lemonds with Bobby Murcer on 3rd and promptly fired a wild pitch that that scored him and gave the Yanks the lead.

The New Yorkers held a 4-2 lead going into the bottom of the 9th. Mike Kekich went out to dispose of the Sox and salvage a split. He retired Rick Reichardt on a flyball, then surrendered a walk to Bill Melton and a single to Mike Andrews. Yankee manager Ralph Houk summoned lefty stopper Sparky Lyle to deal with the next hitter, .208 hitting infielder Rich Morales.

It was then that Tanner had an inspiration and sent the resting Allen up to pinch-hit. Dick swaggered up to the plate toting his 42 ounce bat and the crowd buzzed with the feeling that something special was about to happen. How could it not? It seemed like a Hollywood scriptwriter's dream scenario. Mike Andrews recalls yelling out to Lyle, his former teammate from their Red Sox days, "you're in deep s*** now, Sparky!"

Allen worked the count to 1-1 before Spark fed him his very best fastball. Allen took a thunderous swing. The loud POCK of bat meeting ball left no doubt in anyone's mind. The crowd roared as the ball zinged towards left field as if fired out of a cannon. Sparky Lyle didn't need to check the flight path or wonder if his left fielder would catch up to it. He simply put his head down and began the long, slow walk of shame back to the visitors' dugout. Allen thrust his fist in the air as the no-doubter ended its journey in the left field stands.

Allen's blast gave the Sox a 5-4 win and a doubleheader sweep over their traditional tormentors from New York. The game is now well-remembered as one of the best in White Sox history. Allen was already being looked upon as a south side folk hero.

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