On This Day: Infamous ‘Disco Demolition Night’ Held at Chicago White Sox Game Leading to Forfeit

by Joe Rutland
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It wasn’t “The Night Chicago Died,” but on this day, Chicago White Sox fans of the MLB team stormed the field on “Disco Demolition Night.”

The event, which was a stunt put on by then-Chicago White Sox promotions director Mike Veeck, allowed a Chicago-area radio station to get on Comiskey Park’s field. He was the son of White Sox owner Bill Veeck, known as one of MLB’s most daring owners when it came to promotions.

Bill Veeck happened to be in the hospital on that day, but he checked himself out and was concerned about what would take place at the ballpark. Well, his fears came true.

“Disco Demolition Night” happened between the first and second games of an MLB doubleheader between the White Sox and Detroit Tigers.

Christopher Kamka, who works for NBC Sports Chicago, tweeted out a Chicago Sun-Times photo of the night.

Take a look at what took place in this video.

Maybe some of those Chicago White Sox fans taking the field had some “liquid courage” before doing their damage. The explosions themselves were enough to cause issues with the playing field.

So, let’s offer a little background to this MLB event.

Chicago White Sox Originally Postponed Second Game With Detroit

Chicago disc jockey Steve Dahl was no fan of disco. He loved rock music and played it on 97.9 WLUP-FM in the Windy City. It also needs to be said that the Chicago White Sox were having a bad year on the field. Now there had been some expectations that 20,000-25,000 fans would show up for the event.

Nope. It turned out that 50,000 fans packed Comiskey Park and, once the explosions went off, ran onto the field and managed to cause quite a ruckus. In fact, they got into the park for 98 cents if they brought a disco record with them. Those would be collected and sent down to the field, where Dahl would lead his faithful followers in demolishing disco records.

A number of Chicago Police Department officers had to make arrests and get people off the field. After all, there was a second MLB game to play.

The field, though, was all torn up and was deemed unplayable. At first, the Chicago White Sox postponed the game. But American League President Lee MacPhail ruled otherwise, calling for a forfeit of the game and giving the win to Detroit.

This event was one that might have caused disco music to be less popular in America.

By the way, the Chicago White Sox, managed by Paul Richards, finished last in the American League Central at 64-97. They ended up 25 1/2 games behind the first-place Kansas City Royals.

MLB fans, young and old alike, will read about Disco Demolition Night for generations to come.

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