Steve Dahl appreciation comes 25 years too lateContinue reading.
Disco Demoliton: 30 years after Comiskey Park went up in polyester-fueled flames
Disco sucks! Disco sucks! Disco sucks …
The brainchild of the WLUP disc jockey Dahl and White Sox owner Bill Veeck’s son Mike, the idea was to have a death to disco movement between games of a Detroit Tigers-Sox doubleheader at Comiskey Park in 1979, but it quickly turned into what amounted to a mob scene, culminating in a bonfire of disco records and a canceled game.
And here’s a clip of the live broadcast when Dahl blowed up disco, real good …
Dahl likes to take credit for hastening the death of disco through the riot scene, the flashpoint of a groundswell of anti-disco fervor creeping through the streets of middle America. It was a music morphing into other things by 1979 anyway, but the near-riot scene surrounding the event – and national attention it garnered – certainly left a lasting impression.
Ed Farmer, the current voice of the Sox on radio, was on the mound for Game 1 that infamous day for the below-mediocre South Siders and remembers the chaos bubbling to the surface even before the on-field mayhem began:
“I pitched [3 2/3] innings to finish the first game, and I would be throwing, getting the signs, and a 45 record would fly by the mound. Someone would toss it from the lower deck or the upper deck and it would fly through and on to the field right past you.”
“You are talking about a famous moment in the city of Chicago. Things took place in that stadium that never happened before or after.”
Ken Kravec, then a left-handed pitcher for the Sox and now a special assistant to Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry, remembers the night as the pitcher warming up to start a Game 2 that would not be played:
“One thing I recall, when I walked out to the bullpen mound to warm up for the second game and I was looking around the stadium, you couldn’t see any aisles. I just remember the amount of people. There were like 10,000 or 15,000 people outside the stadium and another 50,000 inside the stadium, if not more.”
“We went out there for about a minute. And then after that, the fans stormed the field. I never feared for my life, not at all. Once they came on the field, it was fine. I just grabbed my hat, walked off and nobody hassled you.”
So for the admission price of 98 cents, Dahl and broadcast partner Gary Meier brought their anti-disco “The Insane Coho Lips” fans to shout to the world that “Disco sucks!” and put some butts in seats for a sub-.500 team. What they came away with was a place in Chicago and promotional history, a Veeck family name blacklisted for decades in Major League Baseball and scene that will never be repeated in major league sports.
Not bad for a half-time show.
What exactly was Dahl thinking going into his brush with destiny? Well, the man himself interviews himself for the Tribune, the only print chat he submitted to (must be the softball interviewer).
Still not sure about that anti-disco army uniform, though. Might not catch on.