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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 11, 1969

Posted 03-19-2017 at 11:13 AM by TommyJohn
Updated 04-13-2019 at 12:18 PM by TommyJohn

April 11, 1969
vs. Seattle Pilots
at Sick's Stadium

Major League baseball expanded in 1968, voting to add two new teams to each league, starting in 1969. The National League got new franchises in San Diego and Montreal (nosing out a bid for a new Milwaukee team by used car salesman Allen H. "The Outsider" Selig) and the American League got new teams in Kansas City and Seattle.

The expansion was done thanks in part to Missouri Senator Stuart Symington, who didn't take losing Charlie Finley's A's very well.

"Oakland has got to be the luckiest city since Hiroshima" he famously riposted, then dropped his own bomb by threatening revocation of MLB's anti-trust exemption and vowing to support any lawsuits challenging the still-existing reserve clause if they didn't give KC a replacement.

Well, nothing grabs baseball owners' attention quite like threats to their little legal monopoly, so they quickly snapped to and approved the expansion.

The leagues also divided into Eastern and Western divisions as part of the new set up. The AL East contained the older teams-Boston, New York, Baltimore, Cleveland and Detroit along with the second version of the Senators. The AL West contained the Twins, A's, Angels, Royals, Pilots...and the White Sox. Schedules would now be unbalanced, with teams playing 18 games with division foes, 12 against non-division teams.

Arthur Allyn was not happy with the arrangement. It now meant fewer home games against huge draws like the Yankees, Orioles and Red Sox. It also meant 27 games out on the west coast, meaning the Sox would be playing games on TV long after most Sox fans had gone beddy-bye.

The Sox were the team selected by the schedule makers to help kick off baseball in the Pacific Northwest. They took the field in Sick's Stadium in the shadows of Mt. Rainier for the Pilots' home opener.

Luis Aparcio was the leadoff hitter and Gary Bell threw the first pitch. The Seattle lineup featured ex-Sox Tommy Davis and Jerry McNertney, along with former Sox farmhand Don Mincher, who hit the first home run in Seattle when he touched Sox starter Joe Horlen with a two run shot in the 3rd inning.

This game was all Pilots, as Gary Bell scattered nine hits. The Sox couldn't dent the plate against the 32 year old vet, leaving 14 runners on base. Horlen gave up three runs while Bob Locker got roughed up for four. The 7-0 loss dropped the Sox to 1-2.

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