Sports Page: Ten Cent Beer Night
In 1974, when the Cleveland Indians faced off against the Texas Rangers they really wanted to make a bang. With low ticket sales and a mediocre team, the Indians decided to entice fans to attend the game with the now infamous “Ten Cent Beer Night” promotion.
For just the price of a dime, attendees could purchase a glass of beer (with a limit of 6 beers per purchase), with no limit to the amount of purchases one person could make. It seemed common sense to everyone that this type of promotion was a bad idea… everyone except the Indians front office.
One week prior to the promotion, when the Indians visited the Rangers in Texas, a game resulted in a bench clearing brawl. Even before the beer started flowing in Cleveland, tensions were high. It didn’t take long for patrons to become visibly intoxicated and with the bad taste in their mouth from the previous week, it didn’t take long before fans got aggressive.
As the innings past, the Rangers discomfort at the crowd’s hostility grew. When a drunken fan ran onto the field and tried to steal Texas outfielder Jeff Burroughs’s hat, the Rangers assumed their outfielder was being attacked and retaliated by charging the field wielding bats as weapons.
Drunken fans began jumping the fence and eventually surrounded the hated Rangers and thinking their opponents were in danger, the Indians joined in on the action and charged the field as well. Eventually the players made their way safely to the dugouts and the game was forfeited.
Days later during an interview regarding the promotion, American League president Lee MacPhail commented that “beer undoubtedly played a part in the riot”.
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