CHICAGO (CBS) — On this day nearly 40 years ago, Disco died in Chicago.
It was July 12, 1979 when radio legend Steve Dahl teamed up with the Chicago White Sox to host Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park.
Fans could buy a ticket to the game for 98 cents–a price promotion tied to radio dial number for Dahl’s station WLUP–provided they brought a disco record to destroy.
The raucous event proved a disaster, when a doubleheader sold out, leaving thousands of fans stuck outside the stadium. Many climbed fences and jumped the turnstiles to get inside.
After Dahl blew up a large box of records, thousands of fans rushed the field, climbing foul poles, setting records on fire in center field, tearing up the turf, pulling up bases, and destroying a batting cage.
The mayhem prompted police to descend on the stadium in full riot gear, arresting dozens of people. The White Sox were forced to forfeit the second game of the doubleheader, due to the unplayable conditions on the field.
Dahl said it was worth every bit of criticism.
“There were some people who got a little carried away,” Dahl told CBS 2 the day after the melee. “I don’t think I have to [take responsibility.] I haven’t done anything. I packed [team owner] Bill Veeck’s baseball stadium for him and made him a lot of money last night.”
“Their security people couldn’t keep them in the stands.”
Four fans were injured and about 40 others arrested.