Does ten cent beer night ring a bell to you? It should if you’re a baseball fan, or over the age of 45.
Today is the 39th anniversary of one of the worst riots in baseball history – Ten Cent Beer Night. It happened at Cleveland Stadium in a game between the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers on June 4, 1974.
In an attempt to attract more fans, the Cleveland Indians decided to offer ten cent beers. The beers contained 12 fluid oz. of 3.2 percent alcohol with a limit of six per customer. Even with such low alcoholic content, many fans became drunk and belligerent as the night went on. In the ninth inning, a drunk fan had run out onto the field attempting to steal an outfielder Jeff Burrough’s hat. Needless to say, things got out of control quickly. The teams and the fans converged on the field in a massive brawl that saw many players and fans injured.
After the event, you would think that the stadium would be done with ten cent beer night. But alas, the stadium went ahead with the promotion, but with some strict parameters in place. On the next ten cent beer night, staff were only allowed to serve two beers per person.
Since then, the ten cent beer night has become somewhat of a legend among baseball fans. It even got its own ballad from “Yet Another String Band:”