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Blog: Indians '10-cent Beer Night' 39th anniversary

5:47 AM, Jun 5, 2013   |    comments
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It was 39 years ago June 4 that the Indians held the first and only "10-cent Beer Night" promotion.

I had a front-row seat as it unfolded, sitting right behind the Indians dugout. We were not even drinking beer -- I've never had a beer in my life and never will -- but we watched as the 25,134 fans got rowdier on Stroh's beer.

The Indians and the Texas Rangers kept playing as long as they could, amid fans throwing cups and refuse onto the field. The grounds clean-up crew never sat down after the second inning, and outfield fans used them as moving targets.

First a woman jumped out onto the field, ran into the on-deck circle and flashed her breasts, then tried to kiss legendary umpire Nestor Chylak.

Another woman then jumped out of the stands and, as ushers corraled her, she attacked them.

Manager Billy Martin's Texas Rangers gazed on the scene.

In the fourth inning, the first streaker ran onto the field and slid into second base. Ouch. In the fifth inning, two men jumped onto the field and mooned the Texas Rangers.

On it went, with packs of fans bolting across the field throughout the next few innings. When one of the Texas Rangers went down at one point, Martin, armed with a fungo bat, led his team from the dugout onto the field in defense.

The Indians bench, all armed with bats and led by then-manager Ken Aspromonte, cleared as well to defend the Rangers under attack and a full-scale melee ensued.

The fans, who had been throwing everything but the kitchen sink onto the field through several innings, were also armed with anything they could grab -- including stadium seats.

At the time, Mike Hargrove was playing first base for the Rangers. Stadium radio announcers Joe Tait and Herb Score never missed a beat, rightfully calling the scene "a tragedy."

Chylak finally ended the game with the Indians forfeiting it. Chylak himself was injured, being hit in the head with a seat and on the hand with a rock.

Cleveland police arrived and helped ushers and stadium personnel clear the field and the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium itself. What a mess. What a night.

It is now 39 years later and never does a June 4 pass that I don't think of that game and that night. That team had some of my favorite players -- Dave Duncan, Oscar Gamble, Duane Kuiper.

On a final footnote to the June 4 "strange days" litany, I will also now remember June 4, 2013 as the day when Ohio State University President Gordon Gee announced that he is retiring July 1, following the revelation of recorded remarks in which he criticized the University of Notre Dame, Roman Catholics and the Southeastern Conference.

Gee made the joking remarks to the university's Athletic Council in December during an update on Big Ten expansion. The recorded comments were obtained by The Associated Press, which published a story about them last week.

Trustees had called Gee's remarks unacceptable and placed him on a remediation plan after learning of the comments earlier this year.

But in a last-dtch attempt to right his own ship, Gee, 69, cited his age, major upcoming planning changes at the university, his desire not to lose the university provost to another job along with the remarks as he explained why he is leaving.

Gee called himself a "quirky" person who decided it was best to leave quickly. Gee has been a successful college president but also prone to verbal gaffes, once calling Ohio's the-Governor George Voinovich a "dummy" and likening the job of running a university to the Polish Army.

Just another memory I will add to my June 4 roster. Gee whiz?

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