July 6, 2009

Disco Demolition Night 30 Years Later

Disco guy.jpgYeah, so Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney ruined our night tonight. We’re used to that. Take heart. The Tigers still cling to first place.

Doesn’t do much for you? Me either.

So instead of cursing the Tigers bullpen, let’s travel back 30 years to July 12, 1979 and revisit Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park, courtesy of Joe LaPointe‘s article in yesterday’s New York Times.

Unlike the commonplace pyrotechnics of Zumaya/Rodney, this doubleheader included the on-field destruction of disco albums between games. Then things got, well, unruly. As Alan Trammell sums it up:

“The outfielders were definitely a little scared and Ronnie (LeFlore) wasn’t usually afraid of anything.”

The thing I remember most about that game was watching Sox owner Bill Veeck limp out on the field with his wooden leg — I had no idea he lost an appendage — to beg the rock-and-rollers to get off the field (and keep their rainchecks!). And I can still hear George Kell trying to describe the action without falling into a “kids-these-days” rant. (Or did he? Does anyone else remember?)

Even Dave Dombrowski, then a 22-year-old gopher for White Sox GM Roland Hemond, had a role in keeping the peace.

Oh, as for the games, the Tigers swept the double-dip 4-1 in the opener and then won the nightcap in a 9-0 forfeit. The victories brought the Tigers within 14 games of the division lead.

What are your memories of Disco Demolition Night?

5 Comment(s)

  1. Big Al | Jul 7, 2009 | Reply

    Disco Demolition Night was 30 YEARS AGO? My God, I’m getting old.

    I remember watching the anarchy taking place at Comiskey on local Detroit TV, as they were going to broadcast the 2nd game of the doubleheader. It was amazing to witness the carnage, a sight to see. I remember Kell and Al Kaline being both disgusted and flabbergasted on the air as well.

    Disco Demolition Night was one of those once in a lifetime occurrences. But in a way, I approved, being a teenage WRIF-FM D.R.E.A.D. (Detroit Rockers Engaged in the Abolition of Disco) gold card holder.

    Times sure have changed…

  2. Doug | Jul 7, 2009 | Reply

    The most amazing thing about Disco Demolition Night is the fact it was between games of an actual doubleheader.

    If MLB simply scheduled twinbills for Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and one day in June and August, it could shave nearly a week off the season and thus prevent baseball in November!

  3. Shasta | Jul 9, 2009 | Reply

    I hate disco almost as much as I hate the Chicago White Sox. I know how they felt!

  4. Jim Craddock | Jul 10, 2009 | Reply

    I agree with Doug on the doubleheader idea. But they’ll never go for it, sadly.

    I remember watching that game on TV as well. And being bummed that I wouldn’t be able to see the second game. I also remember wondering what happened to Bill Veeck’s leg. What is it about Tigers-White Sox that inspires weirdness? Anyone else remember the Al Cowens-Ed Farmer brawl? I think that may have been around the same time. I remember watching that one on TV as well.

  5. Johnny | Jul 11, 2009 | Reply

    Wow, it has been 30 years!! i have a strong recollection of this evening, i was 12 years old and the game was broadcast on tv, ( back then this wasnt automatic) we had just watched the 1st game and i couldnt wait for the secong game to begin, i then heard my father swearing in the tv room, he was rooting on the rioters until he noticed his son, then he scaled back his enthusiasm, our family hated disco and we were all DREAD card carrying members, even pops!! The events of that night turned my vision of baseball on its head, this night makes the entire steroid scandal look like a betty crocker baking episode. I will always remember this game, for the action in between games, we will never see anything like it ever again!!

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