10-cent beer night may sound like a foreign concept to you, after all, beer costs a darned sight more than 10 cents these days. However, 40 years ago, when the Cleveland Indians beat the Texas Rangers at the Cleveland Municipal Stadium, the game was forfeited. This was due to a riot on behalf of the Indians fans because of the cheap beer.
Back in 1974, when the Indians had been in a three-decade slump, they visited Texas on 10-cent beer night, (June 4). Sports commentator Dan Coughlin notes, having been one of the 25,000 at the stadium that night:
“There were a lot of strangers coming into the game that night. And the significance of that is, back then the Indians usually drew about 7,000 people, and you knew them all! A lot of them arrived drunk. They headed right to the concession stands. There was no limit. Whatever you could carry,” he said.
Coughlin continued to reminisce about the events on the baseball field back in the day, talking about the phenomenon of streaking:
“Every inning there was something. A father-and-son combination: naked. They dashed out and both slid into second base. Now imagine, sliding, naked. You could get a heck of a rash. Then about the middle of the game, they started throwing firecrackers,” he said.
On that night, fans stormed the pitch, but it was only when a fan stole a Rangers’ cap that their manager Billy Martin lost it:
“So Billy grabbed a bat and said, ‘Boys let’s go get ’em!’ Now the Indians were in a position where they had to defend other baseball players. It was like the movie ‘300.'”
Fans managed to steal all the bases on the field and the Indians had to forfeit the game. Even that didn’t put an end to 10-cent beer night. Another one was scheduled for later that season, and eventually took place without incident.
A lot has changed over the last 40 years in terms of what is, and what is not,acceptable at baseball games. Can you imagine if there would be such thing as a 10-cent beer night today?