Record night for promotion
By Mark Keast
This summer, people old enough to recall baseball's most infamous promotion 25 years ago are remembering the name Veeck. In July 1979, Mike Veeck was working in the marketing department for the Chicago White Sox, a team his dad, Bill Veeck, owned, and came up with the idea for Disco Demolition Night, an attempt to spur ticket sales for a sputtering team. Mike thought having an area DJ blowing up disco records might entice one or two people to come to old Comiskey Park for the second half of a doubleheader.
He expected 30,000 that night. More than 100,000 showed up, twice the ball park's capacity. A near-riot ensued. Those who didn't have tickets scaled the walls. One observer compared the scene to warriors pouring over the wall of a castle in medieval times. Fireworks, bottle rockets going off on the field, rockets red glare buzzing past your ear.
When it was over, after police had cleared the area of rabid Village People-haters, shards of album records scattered across a war-like, smouldering baseball turf, an umpire walked out, took one look at the scene and called off the second game.
Mike Veeck insisted his father had no problem with it, but said that Bill thought it was a promotion "that went too well."
Bill Veeck was responsible for bringing in midget Eddie Gaedel to pinch-hit for his St. Louis Browns back on Aug. 19, 1951.