It was 39 years ago today, when the Cleveland Indians offered fans 10-cent beers and, well, the rest is a tidy chapter in Cleveland’s rather ignominious history.
Although the Indians had previously held such promotions without incident, beginning with Nickel Beer Day in 1971, a bench-clearing brawl in the teams’ last meeting one week earlier at Arlington Stadium in Texas left some Indians fans harboring a grudge against the Rangers.
In Texas, the trouble had started in the bottom of the fourth inning with a walk to the Rangers’ Tom Grieve, followed by a Lenny Randle single. The next batter hit a double play ball to Indians third baseman John Lowenstein; he stepped on the third base bag to retire Grieve and threw the ball to second base, but Randle disrupted the play with a hard slide into second baseman Jack Brohamer.
The Indians retaliated in the bottom of the eighth when pitcher Milt Wilcox threw behind Randle’s legs. Randle eventually laid down a bunt. When Wilcox attempted to field it and tag Randle out (which he did successfully), Randle hit him with a forearm. Indians first baseman John Ellis responded by punching Randle, and both benches emptied for a brawl. After the brawl was broken up, as Indians players and coaches returned to the dugout, they were struck by food and beer hurled by Rangers fans; catcher Dave Duncan had to be restrained from going into the stands to brawl with fans.
10 CENT BEER NIGHT RETURNS
39th anniversary celebration sponsored by LOTUS PRINTING. June 4, 1974. 10 tickets for $1. We will have 4 kegs starting at 6 pm. It always runs out early so get here on time!
Below, to get you in the mood, a song — “The Ballad of Ten Cent Beer Night.” Enjoy.