Today, June 4, is the 35th anniversary of the drunkest night in sports history—Ten-Cent Beer Night at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland. What better way to celebrate than getting absolutely blitzed on some cheap Stroh's?
For those of you too young to remember the 1970s (lucky you), on a night much like tonight in 1974, the Indians hosted the Rangers with a special beer promotion that drew 25,000 fans, or roughly three times the average attendance, to the ball yard. Eight ounces of tasty, tasty Stroh's for just one thin dime. Can you paint the picture in your head?
The teams were not the best of friends (they had brawled in Texas a week earlier) and things got a little heated late in the game—a game that featured multiple streakers, mooners, and hot dog throwers. The event even has its own Wikipedia page, which helpfully explains.
The ugliness escalated when Cleveland's Leron Lee hit a line drive into the stomach of Rangers pitcher Ferguson Jenkins, after which Jenkins dropped to the ground. The fans in the upper deck of Municipal Stadium cheered, then chanted "Hit 'em again! Hit 'em again! Harder! Harder!"
As the game progressed, more fans ran onto the field and caused problems. Ranger Mike Hargrove (who would manage the Indians and lead them to the World Series 21 years later) was pelted with hot dogs and spit, and at one point was nearly struck with an empty gallon jug of Thunderbird.
Citation needed! Things came to a frosty head in the ninth when a fan tried to steal Texas outfielder Jeff Burroughs' hat. Burroughs tripped and fell down, his teammates thought he was under attack and charged out of the dugout with bats. (Yes, Billy Martin was involved.) A full-fledged riot ensued, players were hit with bottles, chairs, fists, and eventually Cleveland had to forfeit. The local station broadcasting the game showed a tremendous lack of foresight into the coming YouTube age and switched off the live broadcast as soon as it turned ugly. Still, good times all around.
And that's why 35 years later, a local Cleveland watering hole is memorializing the occasion with ... 10-cent drafts of Stroh's. And some wholesome rock music. Please tell me Mike Hargrove will be there.
Cleveland Bar Celebrates 35th Anniversary of Ten Cent Beer Night with Ten Cent Beer [Cleveland Scene]
ModernTube: 'The Ballad Of 10-Cent Beer Night' [Big League Stew]
This Day in Baseball History: June 4th, 1974 [Way Back and Gone]
Page 2: Remembering 10-Cent Beer Night [ESPN, 2008]