FanPost

That Was Then (1970) And This is Now

Thanks to "Reeder" and "Dunner", we're still within reach of 100 losses. Not quite the cataclysm of 1970 (106), but close enough--and especially close enough to look at parallels and distinctions. And I remember 1970 well, as an Oak Park High sophomore coming to the ballpark regularly on the Lake Street El. As for distinctions--there are many. Terrible, underfunded ownership; a real dump of a ballpark (talk about deferred maintenance); an "uninviting" neighborhood; abysmal attendance and a very real threat to move to Milwaukee; Bob Elson and Jack Drees (no Harry yet); instability/ineffectiveness at the manager position (Don Gutteridge to Bill Adair)and an unsuccessful GM (Ed Short). Also, 1970 was the culmination of a long three year decline--and, from a larger perspective, was an unstable time in American culture generally. As for parallels--there are more than you might think. Both teams had their share of aging and unproductive players (Knoop, Horlen, Lee Maye, Berry, Hamilton v. Dunn, Kepp, Thornton, etc.); Both teams suffered from terrible fielding; both teams had made some bad recent choices in the amateur draft (I loved you, Bee Bee Richard, for that 1972 opener at least). But before people write off any comparison using the "we're not remotely that bad" argument, a few points bear mentioning. The 1970 Sox had a few players destined to play a major role in Sox history going forward, including Bill Melton, Carlos May, Wilbur Wood and Bart Johnson. Not a bad core. Harry Caray was on the horizon (imagine! an exciting radio broadcaster whose voice level would rise and fall depending upon the action on the field). And, most of all, "The Will to Change". In September of 1970 Sox ownership wiped the slate clean, bringing in the tandem of Roland Hemond and Chuck Tanner from the Hawaii Islanders, to provide a new beginning and a fresh perspective. Imagine! Bringing in someone from outside the organization! You can argue Tanner's success over the long haul, but you can't argue the fact that Sox ownership rolled the dice and came up big with two guys who made their marks on baseball over the next 30 years. With judicious trading they took a 106 loss team to near .500 in 1971, and to contention in 1972, with a product that was exciting and filled the park (such as anyone filled any ballpark in the '70s. They tried, they cared, they were fun, and they were exciting. So don't write off 1970 too quickly. There are some interesting parallels, and even more interesting lessons.

SouthSideSox is a community driven site. As such, users are able to express their thoughts and opinions in a FanPost, such as this one, which represents the views of this particular fan, but not necessarily the entire community or SouthSideSox editors.

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