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"Let's go get 'em, boys," he said, arming himself with a fungo bat....
June 4, 2014 12:04 PM   Subscribe

The 1974 Cleveland Indians baseball team "were a smorgasbord of mediocre and forgettable talent playing in an open-air mausoleum" where 85% of the seats at home games went unsold. So the Indians tried to drum up business with a "10-Cent Beer Night" promotion. What could possibly go wrong? The final tally, 40 years ago this evening: 25,134 fans in attendance. 60,000 Genesee beers at 10¢ each. 50 cops. 19 streakers. 7 emergency room injuries. 9 arrests. 2 bare moons. 2 bouncing breasts and 1 sportswriter, punched in the jaw.

YouTube Videos:
* Bob Golic recounts the 1974 "10-Cent Beer Night" promotion that ended with a riot
* ESPN: Forty Years Ago: 10-Cent Beer Night

Previously on MeFi:
* Remembering 10-Cent Beer Night
* “I remember from the get-go, it wasn’t a normal crowd.” (Disco Demolition Night)
* Rusty Torres Was At Three Baseball Riots
posted by zarq (28 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
I remember reading that it was Stroh's beer (Gennessee is more of an upstate NY/Northern New England thing) but man that must've been a fun night.
posted by jonmc at 12:06 PM on June 4 [3 favorites]


If more games were like this I might actually watch some.
posted by telstar at 12:09 PM on June 4


Must have been tiring, carrying two thousand of those 30 racks all the way into the stadium.
posted by oceanjesse at 12:09 PM on June 4


If the Marlins tried this, maybe someone would watch Marlins' games.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:12 PM on June 4


Heehee, this is making the rounds today. Great post. Next up: Disco Demolition Night.
posted by Melismata at 12:12 PM on June 4 [4 favorites]


If the Marlins tried this, maybe someone would watch Marlins' games.

Jesus, those articles read like the setup to a Carl Hiaasen novel.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:15 PM on June 4 [5 favorites]


There's a fun write-up of the night in the book "The Top 20 Moments in Cleveland Sports: Tremendous Tales of Heroes and Heartbreaks" available through Google Books. It includes a transcript of part of the game's radio byplay. Also see MLB's "A mistake by the lake" from last year.
posted by zarq at 12:16 PM on June 4


they drank to forget they were in cleveland.
posted by bruce at 12:19 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]


Here's the complete list of baseball forfeits if anyone's interested. Perhaps unsurpisingly, it looks like John McGraw was involved in seven of them.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:25 PM on June 4


As someone who regularly attends MLB games, I feel like things have moved too far in the other direction. Nowadays it would not be inappropriate to include a loan officer at every beer stand.
posted by The Gooch at 12:25 PM on June 4 [11 favorites]


To be fair, the Marlins are now second in the NL East for some reason (!). Attendance is up! Maybe in a few years they won't be a laughingstock. They do have frequent all-you-can-eat promotions, though, but I don't think they include beer.
posted by vogon_poet at 12:28 PM on June 4


Except for one in 1995, all those forfeits were before 1979. Huh.
posted by Melismata at 12:29 PM on June 4


The final tally, 40 years ago this evening: 25,134 fans in attendance. 60,000 Genesee beers at 10¢ each. 50 cops. 19 streakers. 7 emergency room injuries. 9 arrests. 2 bare moons. 2 bouncing breasts and 1 sportswriter, punched in the jaw.


For 10c beers I would suffer that.

(looks at Boston beer prices, shudders)
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 12:30 PM on June 4


Chylak then had a moment of profundity in which he realized that there will be days when the mail just does not go through. A hunting knife has landed, blade down, in the grass behind his leg. He forfeits the game to the Rangers and runs.

I feel incredibly bad for chuckling so loudly and for so long.
posted by Slackermagee at 12:35 PM on June 4


...19 streakers. 7 emergency room injuries. 9 arrests. 2 bare moons. 2 bouncing breasts and 1 sportswriter, punched in the jaw.

Sung to the tune of "12 Days of Christmas", I assume?
posted by mondo dentro at 12:35 PM on June 4 [9 favorites]


In inflation-adjusted dollars those ten cent beers would now cost 48 cents.
posted by plastic_animals at 12:37 PM on June 4 [7 favorites]


A couple online inflation calculators say $0.10 in 1974 would roughly equal a $0.50 beer night today. I'm trying to imagine what kind of beer they could serve up at that price.
posted by xedrik at 12:38 PM on June 4


Any beer. None of it actually costs all that much to them, they just jack up the price to a beyond insane amount.
posted by Melismata at 12:39 PM on June 4


roughly equal a $0.50 beer night today. I'm trying to imagine what kind of beer

.5*30= $15 a 30 rack...turn your nose up if you want.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 12:42 PM on June 4 [2 favorites]


"The late Tim Russert was there that night. When asked how many beers he drank he said that he had two dollars with him. Then he said, "You do the math.""

GOD, I MISS TIM RUSSERT.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:53 PM on June 4 [12 favorites]


Well, the beer was a loss-leader to get people to the game in the hopes that they would come to more games later in the season.

Municipal Stadium seated something like 75K people for baseball. I went to games there when the attendance was about 25K, just like 10-Cent Beer Night, and the place still felt empty. Anything to get more people in the stands would have been welcome.

(I also went a couple times when the announced attendance was like 3,000 people and it was like having a major league baseball game being played just for me.)
posted by plastic_animals at 1:00 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]


09/26/1942 - Boston at New York
In the second game of a doubleheader with the score 5-2 in favor of the Giants, hundreds of children swarmed on to the field after the final out of the 8th inning. The children were the guests of the Giants as part of a promotion. They had brought scrap metal to the game for the war effort. The field could not be cleared and umpire Ziggy Sears called the game for the visitors.
???
posted by kiltedtaco at 1:26 PM on June 4 [2 favorites]


BTW, Ziggy Sears, that's just the coolest name ever.
posted by kiltedtaco at 1:28 PM on June 4


This is my favorite Cleveland-related baseball anecdote. (Dave Bresnahan, catcher, Williamsport Bills, potato play.)
posted by bukvich at 2:32 PM on June 4


I love this city. We're also the reason beer bottles were banned at three NFL stadiums.
posted by jpe at 3:31 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]


The very best part of the story is at the end of the Bob Golic clip: Even after all that happened, they did the same promotion a month later.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:20 PM on June 4


I'm trying to imagine what kind of beer they could serve up at that price.

i'm trying to imagine how many horses they'd need and how much water they'd have to drink
posted by pyramid termite at 5:40 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]


We're also the reason beer bottles were banned at three NFL stadiums.

Heh. I was there that day, Dec 17, 2001.

The whole thing actually felt pretty calm, at least from where I was. I'm sure the people who started the bottle-throwing were pissed off, but most people seemed to view the situation as more of a "Well, hell, how often am I gonna get the chance to throw something onto a major sporting event field without getting in serious trouble? Might as well let fly while I've got the chance" kind of thing.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:13 PM on June 4


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