Baseball, more than any other sport, revels in the history of the game, remembering the great or not-so-great players and moments of the past, a tinge of nostalgia blanketing over the memories, always accompanied by the phrase—“I was there!”
Even for nights like 10-Cent Beer Night, which was hosted by the Cleveland Indians at Municipal Stadium on June 4, 1974, the reminiscing is contagious. What started off as a simple idea to sell cheap beers led to mayhem in the ninth inning of a game between the Indians and Texas Rangers, according to MLB.com. It led to a night that was unforgettable.
So what are the stats of this game between the Indians and Rangers, according to Dan Coughlin, a retired sportswriter who was present at the game? How, in other words, would you sum it up?
“There were 25,134 fans. 60,000 Genesee beers at 10 cents each. 50 cops. 19 streakers. 7 emergency room injuries. 9 arrests. 2 bare moons. 2 bouncing breasts. 1 sportswriter punched in the jaw.”
Dan Coughlin, of course, was that sportswriter.
According to Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com, the environment and past history between the two teams led to the eventual forfeit of the game by the Indians (only the fifth forfeit in MLB history). A much younger crowd was on hand for the game, due to college students returning to town. The early June humidity led to clogged lines at the concession stands, and of course there was a full moon that June 4 night.
“Every bartender will tell you,” said Coughlin, “the gravitational attraction of the full moon makes crazy people even crazier.”
As Castrovince writes about the events that would transpire, “The Indians forfeited that night's game against the Rangers in the midst of a ninth-inning comeback because a crazed crowd had overtaken the events on the field. It is one of just five forfeits since 1954, and the only one known to include a combination of streaking nudists, exploding firecrackers, stolen bases (literally) and an organists' rendition of 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame' serving as the soundtrack to 50 ballplayers defending themselves from a crowd of unruly drunks.”
It would not be the last of the 10-Cent Beer Night in Cleveland. The Indians held another one July 18, 1974. For that game, the crowd was larger but the promotion went off without a hitch.
Image via Wikimedia Commons