Yesterday was the 43rd anniversary of one of the most outrageous MLB promotions in the history of the sport: 10-Cent Beer night at Cleveland Stadium.
On June 4, 1974 the Cleveland Indians hosted the Texas Rangers at Cleveland stadium for a Tuesday night contest. And, in order to get more fans in the stands, someone from the Indians came up with the (not so) brilliant idea of “10-cent Beer Night.”
You see, at the time, a beer typically cost about 65 cents in Cleveland Stadium, so a 10 cent beer was roughly an 85% price reduction – which is a deal too good to pass up! Or so the fans thought again, and again, and again, and again.
Although the stadium had a limit on the number of beers a fan could grab per purchase (a laughable six per person), they didn’t have a limit on how many purchases each fan could make. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, here’s a list of some of the things that happened that night:
- A woman ran out to the Indians’ on-deck circle and flashed everyone
- A naked man sprinted onto the field
- A father and son ran onto the outfield and mooned the bleachers
- There was a riot.
- The players were pelted with hotdogs
- Firecrackers were thrown into the Rangers bullpen.
Wait, wait, wait … what was #4?
Yeah, unfortunately things quickly went from hilarious acts of nudity to downright terror, when the Indians tied things up in the ninth and one more fan ran onto the field. Here’s an ESPN segment on the whole event, but the story of the riot starts around the 4:40 mark:
Yep. The Rangers players went out onto the field with their baseball bats to protect their teammates from the crowd … which just caused more people – including the Indians players – to run onto the field as well. As a matter of fact, Cleveland manager Ken Aspromonte reportedly ordered his team to go out on the field with bats to help fight alongside the Rangers players against the unruly crowd. Insanity ensued, police were brought in, and eventually the game was called.
But here’s the kicker: it wasn’t even the last 10-cent beer night for the Indians … that season! Just over a month later the Indians held another, but this time a 2 beers/purchase limit was tacked onto the end of the deal. Which, sure. That’ll probably work, right. I mean what could possibly go wrong?