10 Cent Beer Night

Whether it’s something to be embarrassed by or an idea to laugh at, the Cleveland Indians’ “10 Cent Beer Night” promotion will infamously remain one of baseball’s most ridiculous moments. In June of 1974, the Indians were sitting around the .500 record mark and fans were becoming irritated by the mediocre play and lack of all-star talent. The average play was reflected by low attendance. It was estimated that 85% of seats at the Cleveland Municipal Stadium went unsold. Desperate for sales and publicity, Tribe owner Vernon Stouffer concocted the idea for a 10-cent beer night. The idea behind the promotion was the stadium would attract more fans by offering 12 fl. oz cups of Stroh’s Beer for 10 cents each. Luckily, the Indians management had fan safety in mind and decided that individuals could only purchase 6 beers at one time, phew! The June 4th promotion against the Texas Rangers started out as a complete success. The attendance was approximately 25,000, three times the crowd of a normal weekday game. However as the game carried on, fans became more and more inebriated. There was garbage thrown on the field, fireworks being lit in the stands, and multiple instances of streaking. After 8 and a half innings of play, a perfect storm had formed, and fans had had enough (baseball/beer). During the bottom of the 9th inning, a fan ran onto the field attempting to steal Rangers’ outfielder Jeff Burroughs’ cap. Thinking that Burroughs had been attacked, Rangers’ manager, Billy Martin, and the rest of the team charged the field. What the Rangers were not aware of was that the stadium stands would soon clear out attempting to attack the visiting team and other spectators. Realizing that the Rangers’ team might be in danger, Indians Manager had ordered his players to protect the Rangers and defend off the impeding Cleveland fans. After 30 minutes of rioting and the arrival of the Cleveland Police Department, the 10 Cent Beer Night riot was over. The umpires had ruled the game a forfeit for the Indians. When it was all said and done, the stadium was destroyed, 9 fans were arrested on disorderly conduct charges, and the bases were stolen, never to be returned. The rest of the Indians promotional nights were cancelled, pending league review. The 10 Cent Beer Night promotion and following riots has not been forgotten and is still paid “HOMAGE” today.

 

10 cent beer night shirt