Tuesday’s ad is for Natural Light, from 1980. Today is the birthday of baseball legend Mickey Mantle. In the mid-1970s, Mantle did some commercials, along with fellow Yankees teammate Whitey Ford, for Miller Lite. So when he did this ad for rival Natural Light, they played up his being a switch hitter “who switched to Natural Light.”
On June 4, 1974, the Cleveland Indians hosted the Texas Rangers with a promotion entitled “10¢ Beer Night” in an effort to boost sagging attendance to Municipal Stadium. 25,134 fans showed up, about twice the number expected. They were allowed to purchase six 10¢ beers (12 oz. cups of 3.2 beer or 4% ABV) at a time, but there was no limit on how many trips to the concession stand one could make. To give that some context, regular beer prices at the time were 65¢, so a dime beer was about 6-and-half times cheaper, a pretty good bargain. Accounts vary on the brand of beer. Some say Stroh’s while other say it was Genesee. By the time the game ended in chaos, around 60,000 beers had been consumed.
To add fuel to the fire, a little over a week before in Texas, the Rangers had a similar promotion in which there was “a bench-clearing brawl” when the two teams had played “at Arlington Stadium in Texas [which] left some Indians fans harboring a grudge against the Rangers.”
The Indians had been losing most of the game, but managed to tie it up in the 9th inning, at which point I’ll let Wikipedia take over the story.
After the Indians had managed to tie the game, a 19-year-old fan named Terry Yerkic ran onto the field and attempted to steal Texas outfielder Jeff Burroughs’ cap. Confronting the fan, Burroughs tripped. Thinking that Burroughs had been attacked, Texas manager Billy Martin charged onto the field with his players right behind, some wielding bats. A large number of intoxicated fans – some armed with knives, chains, and portions of stadium seats that they had torn apart – surged onto the field, and others hurled bottles from the stands. Hundreds of fans surrounded the outnumbered Rangers.
Realizing that the Rangers’ lives might be in danger, Cleveland manager Ken Aspromonte ordered his players to grab bats and help the Rangers, attacking the team’s own fans in the process. Rioters began throwing steel folding chairs, and Cleveland relief pitcher Tom Hilgendorf was hit in the head by one of them. Hargrove, after subduing one rioter in a fistfight, had to fight another on his way back to the Texas dugout. The two teams retreated off the field through the dugouts in groups, with players protecting each other.
The bases were pulled up and stolen and many rioters threw a vast array of objects including cups, rocks, bottles, batteries from radios, hot dogs, popcorn containers, and folding chairs. As a result, umpire crew chief Nestor Chylak, realizing that order would not be restored in a timely fashion, forfeited the game to Texas. He too was a victim of the rioters, as one struck and cut his head with part of a stadium seat and his hand was cut by a thrown rock. He later called the fans “uncontrollable beasts” and stated that he’d never seen anything like what had happened, “except in a zoo”.
As Joe Tait and Herb Score called the riot live on radio, Score mentioned the security guards’ inability to handle the crowd. He said, “Aw, this is absolute tragedy.” The Cleveland Police Department finally arrived to restore order.
Later, Cleveland general manager Phil Seghi blamed the umpires for losing control of the game. The Sporting News wrote that “Seghi’s perspective might have been different had he been in Chylak’s shoes, in the midst of knife-wielding, bottle-throwing, chair-tossing, fist-swinging drunks.”
The game ended with the Indian forfeiting because order could not be restored so the game could be completed.
- 25,134 fans
- 60,000 Genesee beers at 10 cents each
- 50 cops
- 19 streakers
- 7 emergency room injuries
- 9 arrests
- 2 bare moons
- 2 bouncing breasts
- 1 sportswriter punched in the jaw
You can read all about Dan Coughlin recalls the Indians’ famous Ten-Cent Beer Night and see a gallery of photos at SB★Nation entitled Celebrating 10-Cent Beer Night in photos.
Mental Floss summed it up like this:
Among the more tame incidents was a woman who flashed the crowd from the on-deck circle, a father-son team mooning the players, and fans jumping on the field to meet the outfielders. Then, in the bottom of the ninth, the Indians tied the game, but never got a chance to win. Fans started throwing batteries, golf balls, cups, and rocks onto the field. The drunk-fest involved more streakers, base stealers (literally), and fans who stormed the field and attacked the opposing team. Cleveland players had to wield bats to come to the aid of the Rangers players. Texas was awarded a forfeit.
Not exactly baseball or beer’s finest hour.
Saturday’s ad is yet another one for Falstaff, also from 1959. This is the second ad I’ve found equating manliness with beer, and in particular sports. While the last one was for golf, this ad touts baseball as its “Man Size Pleasure.” It’s got a “A taste to satisfy your biggest thirst … yet always light enough to leave room for more.”
Saturday’s ad is another one from the United Brewers Industrial Foundation, from 1945. This was the year before the “Beer Belongs” series began. These were similar, and used the “Beer Belongs” tagline, but were unnumbered stand-alones. They each featured a painting by a well-known artist or illustrator of the day, along with many of the elements that would later appear in the “Home Life in America” series. In this ad, the painting is called “Saturday Afternoon at Sportsman’s Park,” by artist Edward Laning. Seemed like the perfect ad after the Giant’s victory in game 1 today, plus it is Saturday, of course.
And here’s a close up of Laning’s artwork.
This was too funny not to share. Today, October 2, in 1959, during the World Series between the Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers, White Sox left fielder Al Smith had something of an unpleasant time. In the fifth inning, an excited fan in the outfield leapt to his feet, and in the process accidentally knocked over the beer that had been resting on the top of the outfield wall.
The spilled beer and cup rained down on Smith, hitting him square on the head, and dousing him pretty thoroughly. At first he thought it was intentional, but the field umpire assured him it had been accidental. After the game, they learned that the fan was “Melvin Piehl, a motor oil company executive, who later stated that he was trying to catch the ball so it would not hit his boss’s wife.” The White Sox went on to lose this second game at Comiskey Park, and ultimately the Dodgers won the 1959 series, four games to two. Luckily, Ray Gora of the Chicago Tribune snapped a picture at precisely the right moment and captured a piece of history.
Thursday’s ad is for Schlitz, from 1957. Given we’re in the middle of the all-star break, I figured a “7th Inning Schlitzerstretch” might be in order. It’s subtitled “How Cheering Raises A Schlitzthirst.” I confess I love the Schlitzerland ad campaign, especially the illustrations. “Be a Schlitzer.” Wouldn’t you like to be a Schlitzer, too?
Monday’s ad is for Pabst, from some time in the 1940s, based on the suit the men are wearing at a baseball game. Apparently if you drink Pabst, and more importantly, bring some home for your wife, you’ll get out of the doghouse and she’ll forget all about being late because you went to a baseball double header. Too bad real life doesn’t work that way.
Sunday’s ad is by the United Brewers Industrial Foundation, from 194. It was part of their award-winning “Morale is a Lot of Little Things” campaign. This one, “Remember The Time We Taught Mary How To Bat?,” seems a bit insensitive by today’s standards, but was attempting, at least, to remind people why we were fighting World War 2, with the aim of building up morale both at home and in the various theatres of war.
Friday’s ad is for Ballantine, from around 1950. The ad features Pittsburgh Pirate right fielder Roberto Clemente, so it must have been before 1973, since Clemente died in a plane crash while delivering aid to victims of an earthquake in Nicaragua on December 31, 1972. I still have one of his baseball cards from when I was a kid. If I had to guess, I’d say the ad is not an ad per se, but more likely was part of a baseball program sold at the stadium, except that at second glance the text is in Spanish, saying “Roberto Clemente at bat for Ballantine beer.”