Throughout time baseball has been known for wacky schemes to promote attendance. You may recall the Bill Veeck story where he hired Eddie Gaedel to pinch hit during a game in 1951. Gaedel was 3’7 and had virtually no strike zone. The short player was subsequently disqualified but his legend lives on. Bill Veeck has a suite named for him at the Ranger’s stadium today.
Then we have the legendary game between the Texas Rangers and the Cleveland Indians that took place June 4, 1974 where beer was a mere dime as a promotion. Sounds great, right? Wrong.
The evening got a little ugly when fans took advantage of the free flowing dime beers, and things started to get out of hand.
During the first half of the game players thought it to be a bit entertaining to watch as fans took over beer stands and actually poured beer themselves. They started pouring gallons in found buckets, then some drank directly from the spouts. Then it got ugly. Ranger’s players were pelted with hot dogs, some reported up to 20 pounds worth of dogs were tossed directly at them. Streakers took to the field, and some women took the opportunity to jump the fence for a chance to smooch players.
Among the items tossed at the Rangers included an empty jug of Thunderbird wine, cherry bombs, and anything not bolted down. One excited fan ran on field and stole player Jeff Burroughs hat, only he dropped it giving Burroughs the opportunity to kick the fan but Burroughs fell. More fans started pummeling Burroughs. That is when a full scale riot ensued, and the Rangers each grabbed a bat to protect themselves.
The game ended with a riot and then manager Billy Martin was knocked to the ground. More players were attacked with knives, bases were ripped up, and seats were pulled from the stands. The Rangers won that game by default, but not without quite a few injuries. and a visit from Cleveland’s SWAT team.
You may wonder why your beer is so expensive at the stadium. It is not just to make an excellent profit, but to keep fans and players alike safe from chaos. This is why we can’t have nice things.