There's a quote in Field of Dreams that I've always particularly loved. It's during James Earl Jones' speech near the end of the movie and he says "America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game; it's a part of our past, Ray.
It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again."

On so many levels, it's true. Baseball has been a constant. It's "America's Pastime". Sometimes baseball's popularity fades to basketball or football, but it's always there. However, let's not kid ourselves: not everything was always good and there's some things that never need to happen again.

Death to Disco Night in Chicago comes to mind. Another, the subject of this post, is 10 Cent Beer Night with the Texas Rangers & Cleveland.

Historical Significance of 10 Cent Beer Night

10 Cent Beer Night made history for ALL the wrong reasons. It's the only forfeit in Texas Rangers History. According to most in the baseball universe, it's one of the most bizarre scenes in Major League History. maybe you have no idea what 10 Cent Beer Night was. The 1974 season was not a particularly good one for the then Cleveland Indians. In short the team sucked. And Cheap Beer Night was fairly common in Cleveland to get massive crowds, they had been doing them for years.

And, on the surface, the plan worked perfectly. Over 25,000 fans showed up to the game. However, this wasn't an ordinary night with an ordinary crowd. See, Cleveland played the Rangers a week before...a game that featured a lot of tension and bench-clearing brawl. So, there was a LOT of high tensions and bad feelings. Not just between the teams but with the fans as well. These combination of combustible elements led to a night that will never be forgotten.

The Chaos of 10 Cent Beer Night

So we have a hostile crowd consuming unlimited quantities of cheap beer. Per, Cleveland sold an estimated 60,000 cups of beer to the 25,134 in attendance. So, that just kinda sets the stage for the chaos that unfolded through out the evening.

The Rangers quickly took a 5-1 lead. As the Rangers lead grew, the crowd became more restless and disruptive. Fergie Jenkins took a line drive to the stomach, the crowded cheered "HIT HIM AGAIN"! Things just went down hill from there. A woman ran out on the field and flashed the umpire. A naked man ran onto the field and slid into second. A father & son duo ran on the field to moon the bleachers. While these were issues, they weren't exactly out of hand...yet.

But as you'd imagine, after hours of drinking heavily, things finally boiled over in the 9th Inning. The sad part of this whole thing is that it was a hell of a ball game between two teams with bad blood. As I mentioned, the Rangers ran out to a 5-1 lead but in the bottom of the 9th, the Indians tied it up 5-5. But this is where things break down.

At some point, a drunk fan wandered onto the field to try and steal outfielder Jeff Burroughs' hat. While confronting the drunk fan, Burroughs stumbled a bit. A move that proved to be the breaking point, because Rangers Manger Billy Martin sent his entire team on the field with baseball bats thinking that his player was being attacked by a drunk fan.

That move from Billy caused all hell to break loose. Fans poured onto the field. The Indians joined fracas - swinging bats and chairs to help defend the Rangers. At this point, it was a full on riot that lasted over 20 minutes. It was absolutely chaos. The Cleveland Police Riot Squad had to show up and beat everyone back. Despite the all out craziness, only 9 people were arrested.

The Fallout From 10 Cent Beer Night

Several Players and officials were injured in the chaos. Rangers Outfielder Mike Hargrove was involved in several fist fights and got busted open with a beer bottle. Cleveland Relief pitcher Tom Hilgendorf was hit in the head with a steel chair. Texas Catcher Duke Sims got into a couple of fist fights with fans and ended up with some minor wounds. Umpire Nestor Chylak was hit and busted open with a piece of a stadium chair. It was WILD.

Ultimately, despite the epic comeback attempt, Texas won via forfeit. Cleveland was forced to make some changes to their beer night promotions. They continued to do them multiple times a season for a few years, but they were forced to limit the discounted beer to two cups per person.

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