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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 16, 1969

Posted 03-23-2017 at 09:05 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 06-04-2018 at 03:24 PM by TommyJohn

April 16, 1969
vs. Kansas City Royals
at White Sox Park

Owner Arthur Allyn and GM Ed Short took a good long look at the White Sox' incredible shrinking offensive numbers with a growing sense of alarm. The 1966 Sox had hit 87 home runs and sported .231 team batting average. 1967 was not much better, with 89 home runs and a .225 average.

Ed Short thought he had the answer in the winter trades that brought over Tommy Davis, Luis Aparicio and Russ Snyder for 1968. The result was even worse-71 home runs, a .228 average and a clubhouse that nearly imploded under the strain of Eddie Stanky's dysfunctional leadership.

Those were far from the only stats that worried Allyn and Short. Of even greater concern were the team's incredible shrinking attendance numbers. In 1966, the team drew 990,016, only the second time since 1950 that attendance had dipped below 1 million. 1967 saw a decrease to 985,634 despite the fact that the team was involved in one of the great pennant races in baseball history. 1968 saw the worst number-803,775; with 265,552 coming to the nine games in County Stadium and 538,223 in Chicago.

It was thought that one factor correlated with the other. Fans were tired of hum-drum, 1-0 and 2-1 pitchers' duels. They craved action, which the Cubs, coming alive after a two decade slumber, had in abundance. While Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Ron Santo were launching them out of Wrigley, the Sox countered with Tommie Agee, Ken Berry and Don Buford. Good, fast players to be sure, but great catches and stolen bases couldn't hold a candle to bombs landing on Waveland and Sheffield.

Another factor was the south side neighborhood which, south of the park was mostly black and perceived as dangerous, especially after the King assassination riots in April of 1968. Something needed to be done.




Arthur Allyn went to work in an attempt to resuscitate his dying franchise.

He spent a good chunk to install floodlights outside the park to make the area well-lit and safe. Inside he built a cafe and staffed it with young, beautiful women in miniskirts. Sox fans would be served helpings of food, drink and legs.

The infield was then covered in astroturf to make the ball bouncier. Chain link fences were installed in front of the walls to cut the home run distance down by 17 feet and the centerfield fence was moved in.

The Sox would even have new uniforms. Allyn ditched the pinstripes the team had worn since 1951 and introduced royal blue and white uniforms that were modeled after the unis worn by the Red Sox and Tigers.

Well, the good news was, this day's home opener outdrew the 7,756 that turned out the previous year. The bad news is, that isn't saying much. The team was expecting 20,000 but only 11,163 showed up (today, the 20,000 would be announced as the crowd).

The team took the field in Chicago for the first time in 1969 to play the brand new Kansas City Royals, the team that Senator Stuart Symington had threatened and blackmailed into existence.

The big story of the game was rookie Carlos May, who cracked a lead off home run in the bottom of the 1st. He added to his total with a two run shot in the 5th. Buddy Bradford also added a two run job. Their home runs accounted for all the runs in the 5-2 win. Joel Horlen got the win after a shaky start, having given up a two run shot to Joe Foy in the top of the 1st.

The win put the Sox over .500 for the first time since the end of the 1967 season. Maybe there was a glimmer of hope after all?

http://www.baseball-reference.com/bo...96904160.shtml
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