TDISH: Ten-Cent Beer Night

On June 4, 1974, the hapless Cleveland Indians baseball team hosted the Texas Rangers.  Now, normally, this isn’t anything to comment on, but on this date a strange confluence of events occurred producing very odd results.  First of all, the week before, Cleveland had played Texas in Texas.  During that series, there had been a bench-clearing brawl between the teams that had included punches thrown and beer hurled from the stands at Indians players.  When asked about the incident, Texas manager, Billy Martin quipped that he wasn’t worried about retaliation saying, “They don’t have enough fans to worry about.”  This might have been true, but  Cleveland had planned a ten-cent beer night, a not-unheard-of promotion to get fans into the ballpark on June 4.  Many struggling teams throughout Major League Baseball used this gimmick to draw a crowd.  People may not have been fans of the Indians, but they were fans of cheap beer.

Much of the game went smoothly on June 4, until the bottom of the ninth.  The Indians were losing, but were rallying and the fans got excited.  Drunk people, plus excitement, plus Martin’s quote led to a perfect storm of events.  Drunken fans started hurling beer and food at the Rangers team on the field.  This was followed by hundreds of fans rushing the field to steal bases (literally) and attempting to attack Texas players.  Both teams were forced to join forces to get themselves off the field.  Several players, umpires, and fans sustained minor injuries in the melee.  The Indians were forced to forfeit the game.  Loss to Cleveland fans!

Featured Image: “Cleveland Municipal Stadium.” By Wasted Time R (talk) – Own work, CC BY 3.0.
Castrovince, Anthony. “Forty years ago, 10-cent beer makes memories.”

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