Wednesday, June 04, 2008

10 Cent Beer Night in Cleveland - 1974

Well I guess that it is anniversary day today at Flying Debris, on a much lower scale than the anniversary of the Battle of Midway, tonight is the 34th anniversary of the infamous 10 cent Beer Night Riot at the old Municipal Stadium in Cleveland. The Cleveland Indians were averaging 8000 fans per game when they hit upon the idea of offering unlimited 8 oz. cups of Strohs Beer for 10 cents a cup. The Indians were playing the Texas Rangers who they had been involved in a bench-clearing brawl in Texas just the week before during "Cheap Beer Night". Descriptions of the game are hard to imagine this day in age, the Baseball Library entry on that night include this paragraph:

After the Rangers took an early lead, the alcohol-fueled frenzy that had pushed fans through the turnstiles began to push them onto the field. In the second inning, a large woman jumped into the Indians' on-deck circle and lifted her shirt; in the fourth, a naked man slid into second as Rangers outfielder Tom Grieve circled the bases with his second homer of the game; and in the fifth, a father-and-son team welcomed Hargrove to Cleveland by leaping into the infield and mooning the crowd. From the seventh inning onwards, a steady stream of interlopers greeted Burroughs in right field. Some even stopped to shake his hand.

Things got ugly in the 9th inning when the Indians tied the game and put the winning run on third, that's when fans stole the hat and glove of Texas right fielder and that year's eventual AL MVP Jeff Burroughs. When he retrieved his hat and glove fans started throwing beer, rocks, seats, parts of seats, golf balls and reports noted that many fans were armed with knives. Texas manager Billy Martin told his players to grab bats and go out to save the Texas outfielders, Cleveland manager Ken Aspromonte ordered his players to do the same. All hell had broken out and the umpire crew forfeited the game in favor of the Rangers.

Here is the Wikipedia account of the game.

Former Cub and then future Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins started the game for Texas.

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Blogger Publia said...

Up until the hat became an issue, I was thinking this could really liven up a ball game.

10:38 PM  

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