Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Disco Demolition Night
Disco Demolition Night occurred on July 12 1979 at Comiskey Park during a scheduled twilight-night doubleheader between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers. It was also known as "Anti-Disco Night", or by its indelicate "underground" title, "'Disco Sucks' Night".
Steve Dahl and Garry Meier, two DJs for the radio station WLUP in Chicago, Illinois came up with a promotion that involved people bringing unwanted disco records to the game in exchange for a 98 cents admission fee. It would prove to be the most ill-conceived promotional idea since "Ten Cent Beer Night " in Cleveland a few years earlier.
This promotion apparently encouraged a lot of people to come to the park who were not "typical" baseball fans. Sox TV announcers Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall commented freely on the "strange people" that seemed to be wandering aimlessly around the stands. In Slouching Toward Fargo, Mike Veeck recalled that the pregame air was heavy with the scent of marijuana. Clearly, there was trouble brewing. Many of the spectators sailed their records through the stands during the game, like frisbees, nearly inciting a riot. But the worst was yet to come.
After the first game, Dahl came out to center field along with the records in a box rigged with a bomb. When the bomb was set off, thousands of fans ran onto the field. Some started their own fires and mini-riots. The bomb also ripped a hole in the outfield surface. Sox owner Bill Veeck took to the public address sytem and pleaded with the fans to leave the field immediately. There was so much commotion and damage to the field that the teams could not play the second game of the doubleheader; the White Sox forfeited the game.
Although Bill Veeck took much of the public heat for this fiasco, it was known among baseball people that his son Mike was the actual front-office "brains", as it were, behind this promotion. This resulted in Mike being blackballed from any connection with the major leagues for a long time after his father retired. As Mike related in the book Slouching Toward Fargo, about the independent St. Paul Saints of which he is part owner, "The second that first guy shimmied down the outfield wall, I knew my life was over!"
- Disco Demolition Night News Headlines Steve Dahl created the anti-disco gang the insane coholips after being fired from WDAI after it went to an all Disco format. White Sox management was expecting an additional crowd of 5,000 but 50,000 insane coholips turned out with thousands of others outside the park. Others climbed walls and fences in order to get into Cominsky Park.
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