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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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The Chicago A's?

Posted 02-17-2018 at 09:14 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 12-12-2018 at 08:38 AM by TommyJohn

A July 30,1975 Tribune article authored by Dave Condon started with an ominous headline: "Will A's Become the White Sox of '76?"

Condon's story went on to say that MLB had a solution for the Sox' financial situation in mind: move the team to Seattle, where a brand-new, domed stadium awaited, and shift another team to 35th and Shields to take its place. The team would be renamed the White Sox in order to ensure franchise continuity. The team Condon named as the one that MLB wanted to shift to Chicago was the three-time defending World Series Champion Oakland A's.

A's owner Charlie Finley told Condon "as far as I know I'll be playing in Oakland for years to come." He denied any knowledge of a plan to shift his team to Chicago.

Condon explained further that Major League Baseball was facing a lawsuit from the City of Seattle, which didn't appreciate the Lords of Baseball allowing the Pilots to leave after only one season after the city had sunk money into sprucing up Sick's Stadium to make it major league worthy. The city also spent millions designing and building a domed stadium to house the Pilots. Now, the city fathers wanted their money back and then some. MLB was opposed to expansion, so the obvious solution was to shift an existing franchise there. The Lords told Allyn he could sell to Seattle interests if there was a team lined up to replace the White Sox.

The A's were that logical candidate because they were still not drawing well despite their continued success. Neither were the Giants, so MLB wanted to pull one team from the Bay Area and leave one team, which would presumably become financially healthy once on its own. So why not move the A's or Giants to Seattle? Because neither Finley nor Giants owner Horace Stoneham wanted any part of that city. Finley, however, was a native Chicagoan who had always dreamed of owning the south side franchise. In 1958 he had put in a bid for Dorothy Rigney's 54% stock, only to be beaten out by Bill Veeck. In 1969 he offered to trade teams with Arthur Allyn-he would take over the White Sox and Allyn would take the A's. Art wanted out of baseball and rejected the plan. Now, though, Finley owning the "White Sox" (in reality the transplanted A's) seemed on the way to happening, according to Condon.

Condon couldn't contain his enthusiasm for the idea. In his regular column he went over the recent pedigrees of the White Sox (far from a title) and the A's (three in a row, most likely to make it four) and said "If I thought there was a 100-1 chance [the A's] could be moved to White Sox Park, I'd not only report it, I'd campaign like hell for it." He went on to call the A's a "complete baseball team" and said "so don't blame this southsider if he'd favor seeing the A's-or their equal-wearing White Sox uniforms."

The next day, Rick Talley devoted a rare column to the White Sox (his editor probably held a gun to his head). He announced that Sox fans (who he disdained as "drunks who love to punch each other" the previous December) would be able to vote on which arrangement they'd like to see. A ballot was printed next to his column asking fans to vote on if they wanted the current Sox team to remain, or see the A's come to town and become the White Sox. Results would be announced in a few days.

Meanwhile, Bob Verdi jumped on the bandwagon. In his game recap of July 31, he referred to the Sox as "Seattle's Darlings" despite the fact that the team hadn't been sold, wasn't going anywhere yet and the move at this point was just talk.
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