Cultural Chaos at Comiskey: Baseball and Disco's Intersection in 1979

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Disco Demolition Night was an infamous promotion at Chicago's Comiskey Park in July of 1979. In between games of a Major League Baseball doubleheader, a box of disco records was exploded in centerfield. Fans left their sears and stormed the field. They set fires and destroyed the field. 44 years later, the promotion is remembered in several different ways. Some remember at the promotion as a night as a silly promotion gone wrong, while others view it as a racist and homophobic event to combat the rise of the disco era. There is a clear disparity in how the night is remembered by baseball fans and those studying disco culture in the 1970s. My research looks to answer how Disco Demolition Night happened, how it is remembered today, and how it should be remembered. I argue that it should be viewed as a transitional moment in baseball and disco culture in 1979. Disco Demolition Night demonstrates both the modernization of professional sports, and the the widespread anti-disco sentiment in the late 70s. Viewed through different lenses, Disco Demolition Night can be a part of telling many stories about American culture in the 1970s.


Winner of the 2023 Library Award for Undergraduate Research.