There have been a lot of crazy things happen in baseball over the years. A pitcher blown off the mound by gusts of wind, a batter running the bases backwards after a home run, a midgets pinch-hitting. All have occurred in a big league game. But nothing wackier may have ever taken place than what was seen at old Comiskey Park in Chicago on July 12, 1979.
The Tigers and White Sox were scheduled for a rare twi-night doubleheader on a Thursday. Between games a local radio DJ named Steve Dahl took to the outfield where he gathered disco records from thousands of fans in attendance. He then proceeded to strap them to explosives and blow them up.
Hall of Famers George Kell and Al Kaline, sharing the broadcasting duties for the Tigers that night, had a difficult time making sense of what was going on, as our Bill Dow pointed out.
Scores of fans were arrested and cleared from the field, which was marred by several fires in the outfield. The crazy fans, presumably spurred on by their hatred for disco, even tried to pry up home plate. The event, titled “Disco Demolition Night” ended up demolishing much more, as the second game was called off. The game was later forfeited to the Tigers.
Here’s a video clip from Chicago news coverage of the event. It includes remarkable footage of the police trying to restore order as the outfield at Comiskey Park is literally on fire.
The event was the brainchild of DJ Stahl but was approved by Mike Veeck, son of legendary baseball owner and promoter Bill Veeck, who was know for all sort of antics like the time he gave a regular fan a stable full of prizes.
“Disco Demolition Night” was one of the many zany antics pulled off by the Veeck’s in their years in baseball. It also proved to be one of the most dangerous and memorable.