Thanks to interleague play that occasionally pits opponents from Major League Baseball’s Na-tional and American leagues against one another in games that count in the standings, the Cleveland Indians will make a rare Atlanta appearance. Aside from being the only teams still sporting Native-American monikers, the matchup is significant since it marks the two clubs’ first meeting since the 1995 World Series, which the Braves won in six games. Despite being perennial playoff contenders, the Indians’ last World Series appearance prior to 1995 was in 1954. They haven’t won a series title since 1948.
In action since 1901, the Indians have a storied history. One of the more bizarre entries in those annals is the infamous “Ten Cent Beer Night.” At a home game vs. arch-rivals the Texas Rangers on June 4, 1974, Indians’ promoters decided to offer 12-ounce draft beer for 10 cents (normally 65 cents). It didn’t help that a week before, a game in Texas between the teams had ended in a bench-clearing brawl –and a 3-0 Texas victory.
Fueled by cheap suds and a desire for revenge, Indians’ fans pelted Rangers’ players with food and debris and entered the playing area causing disruptions. A naked man streaked across the field and firecrackers were tossed into the Rangers’ dugout. Things came to a head when a fan tried to snatch a Rangers’ player’s cap, causing the player to trip. Thinking the player had been at-tacked, the Rangers rushed to his defense with bats drawn. Fans responded with weapons they had smuggled in, folding chairs and seats ripped from their moorings. Sensing that the Rangers were in serious danger, the Indians went to help wielding their own bats. The players, many of them injured, protected each other in small groups as they fought their way off the field.
The game was stopped and forfeited to Texas –one of only five forfeits recorded by Major League Baseball in the last 42 years (a forfeit is recorded as 9-0). Since a stadium draft beer now costs upward of $7 –making even mild intoxication an expensive proposition-a repeat is unlikely!
The Cleveland Indians will visit Turner Field August 27-29. Learn more at www.braves.com.