Disco Demolition Night is back in the news because of a new PBS documentary about disco music and the backlash to it in the form of the disco sucks movement, which finally culminated in a baseball promotion that went completely haywire.
On July 12, 1979, the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox met for a doubleheader at Comiskey Park that between games featured an outspoken local disc jockey and the detonation of disco records in the outfield. Combine that stunt with an overflowing crowd, fueled by alcohol and possibly more, and fans ultimately stormed the field and brought the doubleheader to a screeching halt.
The Tigers won both games, the second game by forfeit. However, before the Tigers had to hit the road to face the White Sox, they hosted the Twins on July 11. And the Twins beat them, 3-0.
Two career Twins, pitchers Darrell Jackson and reliever Pete Redfern, scattered six hits to blank Motown. On the mound for the Tigers, future Twin Jack Morris, who went the distance and lost, despite surrendering only three hits.
The Minneapolis Tribune lede:
“Yes, the box score is correct. Save — Redfern. Pete Redfern really did save Darrell Jackson’s 3-0 victory over the Tigers Wednesday night.”
The Detroit Free Press lede:
“The Tigers made a travesty out of Jack Morris’ well-pitched ball game Wednesday night, burying themselves under an avalanche of misplays and missed opportunities.”
Extra innings …
-Slugger Frank Howard, who was as big as the towering blasts he hit for the second version of the Washington Senators, died Oct. 30. He was 87. Hondo, who stood 6-foot-7, didn’t quite hit 400 home runs, but when he connected they were memorable. He also, as most power hitters are wont to do, struck out a lot. He played for manager Ted Williams. Yes, that Ted Williams.
“Somebody was explaining to a visitor that some of the outfield seats in RFK Stadium had been painted white to mark where some of my long home runs had landed,” Howard told the New York Times in 1981. “Ted (Williams) turned to the guy and said, ‘All of the green seats are for the times he struck out.'”
The first version of the Washington Senators moved to Minnesota to become the Twins in 1961.
-The Twins have exercised their options on Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco, according to MLB Trade Rumors. Both players are free agents after the 2024 season. Kepler was the comeback player of the year in my opinion after he slashed .260/.332/.484 with 24 home runs, which led the team.
-So how did the Free Press and the Chicago Tribune cover Disco Demolition Night?
The Free Press lede:
“Thousands of fans ran wild here Thursday night, setting a bonfire in the outfield, throwing records and firecrackers and tearing up the playing surface.”
The Chicago Tribune lede:
“Bill Veeck and the younger minds who crank out White Sox promotional ideas had one run afoul of the great musical conflict in Comiskey Park Thursday night.”
Who was among the younger minds responsible for the promotion? Mike Veeck, the current owner of the St. Paul Saints, the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate.
Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, Newspapers.com