July 12, 1979. Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois.
The night disco died and was "blown up, real good...."
It was held between games of a twi-night doubleheader between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers. During the event, rowdy fans surged onto the field, and a near riot ensued. It would ultimately prove to be one of the most notable promotional ideas and one of the most infamous since "Ten Cent Beer Night" in Cleveland in 1974. The event is regarded as the culmination of a backlash against disco music that had an effect on the decline of the genre.
The turnout for this promotion far exceeded all expectations. Management was hoping for a crowd of 12,000, about the double the average for a Thursday night game that year. But an estimated 90,000 turned up at the 52,000 seat stadium. Thousands of people climbed walls and fences attempting to enter Comiskey Park, while others were denied admission. Off-ramps to the stadium from the Dan Ryan Expressway were closed when the stadium was filled to capacity and beyond.
White Sox TV announcers Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall commented freely on the "strange people" wandering aimlessly in the stands. Mike Veeck recalled that the pregame air was heavy with the scent of marijuana. When the crate on the field was filled with records, staff stopped collecting them from spectators, who soon realized that long-playing (LP) records were shaped like frisbees. They began to throw their records from the stands during the game, often striking other fans. The fans also threw beer and even firecrackers from the stands.
One of my favorite sports moments of all time. This short clip was released at the 25th anniversary of the event. It's now been 30 years. Let's play ball.
Your ever present sports reporter - J. Yuma