It’s been 40 years since the Cleveland Indians hosted 10-cent beer night, and to this day it is still one of the most infamous promotions in Major League Baseball history.
The promotion was held on June 4, 1974 and was intended to both show the Cleveland Indians’ appreciation for fans and as a way to make money of course.
While the idea was innocent enough, 10-cent beer night ended up going wrong and even caused a massive riot. It also led to several streakers, a few fist fights, some fire crackers and the Indians forfeiting that night’s game against the Rangers.
The whole thing may sound like a mess and something Cleveland would be ashamed to talk about, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Cleveland Indians fans talk about the catastrophe with fond memories and even consider it a source of civic pride.
There are a lot of questions about what really went down at the stadium that night, but an even better one is, “why would anyone attempt a 10-cent beer night at a baseball stadium?”
The truth is, Cleveland wasn’t the first place to come up with the idea and other stadiums across the country had hosted similar events. Cleveland had already sponsored a five cent beer night that went much smoother than expected and inspired them to host similar events.
— SB Nation (@SBNation) June 4, 2014
“It was just a way to get fans to the ballpark,” said Tom Grieve, then a Rangers outfielder. “It seemed like a good idea. [The events on June 4 were] a matter of circumstances that presented themselves throughout the night.”
10-cent beer night may have been a bad idea, or it may have been a coincidence that a bunch of people drinking cheap beer and watching a sporting event under a full moon got a little rowdy and out of control. The point is that 10-cent beer night is remembered as an infamous day in sports history and today, Cleveland fans celebrated its 40th anniversary.
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