Tonight (July 12th) marks the 43rd anniversary of the infamous “Disco Demolition Night” at Chicago’s Comiskey Park. In 1979, a local Chicago DJ named Steve Dahl, who had just been fired and had to get a new job after his radio station switched to a disco format, came up with a promotion idea. He invited fans to bring their unwanted disco records to a scheduled twilight-night American League doubleheader on July 12th, between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers, in exchange for an admission of 98 cents. The event was billed as “Disco Demolition Night.” Promoters hoped for an attendance boost of 5,000, but about 50,000 people showed up, many of whom did not get in.
During the break between games, a box containing the disco records was brought to center field, and it was then exploded. The bomb in the box ripped a hole in the outfield grass, and thousands of fans then ran onto the field, setting fires and ripping up bases. Police in riot gear were eventually needed to clear fans off the field, and the manager of the Detroit Tigers refused to let his team play, out of fear for their safety. The White Sox forfeited the game to the Tigers. Six people reported minor injuries, and 39 were arrested for disorderly conduct.