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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Fans give new meaning to Disco Demolition
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

July 12, 1979

On Disco Demolition Night, a promotion denigrating disco music devised by a Chicago disc jockey, Chicago's Comiskey Park is rocked as some 5,000 to 7,000 fans in a crowd of 49,000 run awry between games of the White Sox's twinight doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers.

After a ritual burning of disco records in center-field, the fans -- many of whom were admitted for 98 cents with a disco record -- overwhelm security men and storm the field. Helmeted police don't arrive until a half-hour later.

There are 39 arrests for disorderly conduct and at least a half-dozen injuries.

"These weren't real baseball fans," says White Sox president Bill Veeck, the king of innovative baseball promotions. "All I know is we won't try anything like this again. I was amazed. I wish I wasn't."

One hour and 16 minutes after the second game is supposed to start, the umpires deem the field unplayable and postpone the game. Tigers manager Sparky Anderson wants a forfeit. The next day, American League president Lee MacPhail will heed his request and award the Tigers a 9-0 forfeit victory.

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