Ironically, it was against the Indians. The game included a bench clearing brawl, but not the way you may think if you know the history of 10 cent beer night. The last similar promotion resulted in a 3-0 Rangers win in Arlington. Rangers 2B Lenny Randle used a vicious take-out slide to break up a double play. During Randle's next plate appearance, Indians pitcher Milt Wilcox retaliated by throwing a pitch that went under Randle's legs, forcing him to jump out of the way. Randle tried to bunt his way on, with Wilcox tagging out Randle for the out. Randle hit Wilcox with a forearm and after Indians 1B John Ellis punched Randle, the brawl had started. Oddly enough, no fans had entered the field and despite some unruliness, the game ended with little incident.
This takes us to the game at hand, where the Indians ownership was estatic with the attendence figures of 25,134, more than three times the amount of people that were coming to games that season. Billy Martin was managing the Rangers and Ken Aspromonte was leading the Indians. Fritz Peterson was the Indians SP, while future HOF Ferguson Jenkins got the nod for the Rangers. The Indians line-up included notables such as Oscar Gamble and George Hendrick while the Rangers had Tom Grieve, Jeff Burroughs and Toby Harrah.
While their were minor incidents throughout the beginning, things seemed under control as the Rangers built a 5-1 lead. Fans started letting off firecrackers, at that point was where the fans got out of control. A woman ran out into the Indians on-deck circle, revealing her breasts. A streaker ran out on the field towards 2B. Two fans ran out on the OF and mooned the bleachers. Jenkins was hit in the stomach by a line-drive, where he was knocked over. Fans responded with very loud chants such as "Hit-em again!" and "Harder". And no, they were not calling for long time Indians' pitcher Mel Harder. Rangers 1B Mike Hargrove, who was a defensive replacement, was hit with objects and spit on. The same Mike Hargrove that would later manage the Indians to AL Pennants in 1995 and 1997.
Those were all incidents that could be managed. The 9th inning was when things got out of control. Oddly enough, the Indians had rallied to tie the game and had the winning run at 2B. A fan ran on the field to try to take off the hat of Rangers RF Jeff Burroughs. Burroughs tried to push the fan out of the way, which resulted in Burroughs slipping and falling down. Billy Martin, who was never one to run away from a fight, charged the field in defense of Burroughs as he thought he was being attacked. The Rangers players followed, some brought their bats. Fans stormed RF to fight with the Rangers players. Aspromonte, sensing the Rangers players were in danger, ordered his players to charge the field in defense of the Rangers players. It resulted in them fighting with their own fans, causing many injuries, including that of crew chief Nestor Chylak, who called the game as order could not be restored. It resulted in a forfeit of the game by the Indians to the Rangers, despite the 5-5 score.
Steel chairs were removed, thrown and used as weapons, just like scenes from real bar room brawls. Except there were 10,000 people involved, not the dozens you see fighting in a bar. All three bases were taken, never to be returned. I find it amazing that something like this had to happen for the teams to consider a limit on the amount of beer that can be purchased. That surely has led to the limit of two drinks per person limit we are held to at the games we attend today. Last call is now in the seventh inning. As we watch the couple of games on today's schedule, imagine the scene if there was unlimited beer served for at each game for $.47 each (today's equivilant of 10 cents).