A baseball game I wish I had experienced (from a distance)

When the same thing comes up in two distinct contexts it’s often worth taking notice. Today, I happened upon references to one particular 1974 baseball game in two different places. This game sounds like it would have been an experience to behold, so I thought I should write about it. Let me explain how this unfolded.

Heather has a Cleveland Indians shirt that she got for signing up for a credit card while attending a game at Jacob’s Field in Cleveland 5 or 6 years ago. The Indians’ mascot is printed on the back of the shirt and Elizabeth was asking us today what the mascot’s name is. We didn’t know, so I looked to Wikipedia for an answer. On the Cleveland Indians’ Wikipedia page I found a reference to a game known as “Ten Cent Beer Night”, which was described by the author as “ill-conceived”. This was interesting, but I still had not found the name of the Indians’ mascot, so, prompted by urgent pleas from Elizabeth I searched further, leaving any exploration of “Ten Cent Beer Night” for another time.

Tonight, I was reading The Official Rules of Baseball: An Anecdotal Look at the Rules of Baseball and How They Came To Be. One section describes the various responsibilities a home team has and how the failure to fulfill those responsibilities can lead to the home team’s forfeiture of the game. One of the responsibilities of the home team is to provide an adequate police presence to enforce order during the game. If the fans become unruly and venture onto the field, the visiting team can refuse to play. At this point, the home team and the police have at most 15 minutes to restore order or they forfeit the game. As an example of a game in which fan unruliness led to the home team’s forfeiture, the author describes “Ten Cent Beer Night” – the 2nd reference today to this game that happened more than 30 years ago. I figured this time I should look into it.

While the book provides some information on the event, I turned again to Wikipedia for more details. It turns out that there is a Wikipedia article dedicated just to this game. You can read it for yourself here. You should really read it. After you’ve read that, you can follow the link to the article on Disco Demolition Night – another game that ended in the home team’s forced forfeiture due to fan unruliness. There have been some crazy games in the history of baseball but I think these two rank right up there at the top.

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September 2006

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