June 4, 1974, a night that will live in infamy.
It all started when Cleveland lost a road game to the Texas Rangers, one that ended in a benches-clearing brawl. After the game, a Cleveland reporter asked Rangers manager Billy Martin “Are you going to take your armor to Cleveland?” to which Martin replied, “Naw, they won’t have enough fans there to worry about.” Incensed by Martin’s words, Cleveland decided to draw in fans by offering beer for ten cents a cup, six beers at a time.
This was a bad idea.
Cleveland’s Ten Cent Beer Night promotion drew 25,134 fans to Cleveland Stadium. Things quickly got out of hand. A woman ran out to Cleveland’s on-deck circle and flashed her breasts, a naked man sprinted to second base, and a father-and-son pair ran onto the outfield and mooned the fans in the bleachers. As the game progressed, more fans ran onto the field and caused problems. Ranger first baseman Mike Hargrove was pelted with hot dogs and spit, and at one point was nearly struck by an empty gallon jug of Thunderbird.
When the score was tied 5-5 in the ninth, someone tried to steal outfielder Jeff Bourough’s cap. Thinking he was being attacked, the Rangers cleared the bench and a riot started. The police were called and Cleveland was force to forfeit.
American League president Lee MacPhail commented, “There was no question that beer played a part in the riot”.
To honor this event, the band The Mulligans (featuring my brothers Jon and Joe) wrote a song about it:
Have fun posting!