Comiskey Park’s Last Game

On September 30, 1990, old Comiskey Park hosted its last game, a 2-1 White Sox defeat of the Seattle Mariners. There were three triples in the game, and Bobby Thigpen extended his record for saves in a single season by registering his 57th in support of Jack McDowell, who’d pitched the first eight innings.  The last play was a Harold Reynolds grounder to second baseman Scott Fletcher, who threw to Steve Lyons for the out. Rich DeLucia pitched the full eight innings for the Mariners. The next day, a New York Times writer from Chicago remembered:
Comiskey Park has always seemed a rather scruffy but friendly ball park. Never scruffier or friendlier, however, than now.

Next season the team will cart its bats and balls and bases across the street to a newly constructed, pinkish facility, bigger than the old one and literally dwarfing it in its shadow.

Maybe this move will be good. After all, the team was going to leave town if city officials didn’t help provide for the new ball park.

Sometimes, though, progress takes a toll in the psyche, and maybe the heart, too.

Sentimentality can be a dangerous luxury, having the property of skewing reality. Yet the ball park is in fact a Chicago landmark, a landmark with white paint peeling on the exterior and exposing blotches of old brick.

He continued: Through the years, my work had periodically taken me back to Comiskey Park, and I didn’t much think about it. But now, with its end in sight, you take another look, as you might at an independent, slightly eccentric old aunt whose charms, the funny hat and cheery circles of rouge on the cheeks, you appreciated only as she began to fail.

The last game at Comiskey Park was played on a crisp, sunshiny fall day. Little was riding on this contest between the second-place White Sox and the fifth-place Seattle Mariners.

Certificates were handed to incoming fans, proof positive of their attendance at this historic game. It was a capacity crowd of 42,849, the game having been sold out for months, and the last of 72,801,381 paying customers over eight decades.

This throng seemed happy to be here, sharing this would-be memory. ”Goodbye, Ol’ Friends,” waved a banner on the left-field wall. The Mayor, Richard M. Daley, threw out the first ball.

When it was all over, and the White Sox had defeated the Mariners, 2-1, the local players left and then returned to the field and threw some baseballs into the cheering crowd and waved their caps.

[Read some more about the old Southside ballpark here.]

Published in: on December 13, 2008 at 1:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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