10 CENT BEER NIGHT was a promotion hosted by the CLEVELAND INDIANS (now Guardians) in a Major League Baseball (MLB) game against the Texas Rangers on June 4, 1974. This promotion was intended to build attendance for the Indians allowed those attending the game to buy Stroh’s 8 oz beer cans for 10 cents apiece (equivalent to 64 cents in 2023), a significant discount from the regular price of 65 cents (equivalent to $4.17 in 2023). The team had been struggling to attract fans because of their poor record. An average Tuesday night game drew between 12,000 and 13,000 fans. On June 4th the promotion served to draw 25,134 fans to the game who purchased an estimated 60,000 cups of beer. The unintended consequence of the promotion was a drunken riot causing property damage and injury. Inebriated fans began to throw their cans onto the field, antagonizing and injuring the players eventually forcing both teams to find shelter in their respective dugouts to protect themselves from the mob.

Fan behavior became unruly well before what might be termed a riot broke out. A woman ran onto the field, flashed her breasts, and attempted to kiss the umpire in the 2nd inning. Soon afterwards a naked man ran onto the field and slid into 2nd base. One inning later, a father and son went onto the field to moon fans sitting in the bleachers. 

During the ninth inning, while the Indians were holding a 5-3 lead with two runners on base, around 200 inebriated fans left the stands and rushed onto the field, creating chaos for about 15 minutes. At that point, umpire Nestor Chylak declared a forfeit declaring the Rangers as the winner, and the Indians the loser with a score of 5-5. Some individuals suffered injuries. Rangers’ outfielder Mike Hargove was on the receiving end of a beer bottle thrown by a fan. Knives were flashed, numerous cans were thrown onto the field, fights broke out, and the event was consumed by an overall air of violence and chaos. The CLEVELAND POLICE DEPARTMENT eventually showed up, but arrested only 9 fans. 

This event remains one of the most infamous games in Cleveland baseball history and it served to create a precedent to limit the number of alcoholic beverages an individual could purchase at the Indians’ stadium. 

Currently (2023) the Guardians have a $2 promotional beer night, but only two beers are allowed per person and they are served in opened cans so that a closed, full can cannot be thrown onto the field and potentially injure players. Additionally, rules now allow fans to be removed from the park if they throw anything on the field.

Grace Johnson and Samuel Trunley

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