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Violence at Baseball Game Remembered

By TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer 

CLEVELAND (AP) - Mike Hargrove keeps a photograph of
``10-cent Beer Night'' hanging on his office wall at
Jacobs Field,
a reminder of a night 25 years ago when Cleveland
Stadium became a battlefield.

``It was crazy,'' said Hargrove, a rookie for the
Texas Rangers in 1974. ``Absolutely crazy. I remember
not feeling safe until
we got back to the hotel.''

Twenty-five years ago today, thousands of Cleveland
fans, many of them drunk on 10-cent beer, turned a
seemingly harmless
promotion during a game between the Indians and
Rangers into a night of violence that left players,
spectators and umpires
bloodied.

Memories of the infamous night still shake Jim
Fregosi.

``There were a lot of punches thrown,'' said the
Toronto manager, who was playing first base for the
Rangers that night. ``A lot
of people got hurt. Players got hit with chairs over
their heads. It was nasty.

``That's as much as I want to remember. It was
awful,'' he said. ``They needed the riot squad to get
us out of the stadium. It
was a mad house.''

Fans fought with fans, with police, with the Rangers
and the Indians, many of whom ran on the field to
protect their Texas
counterparts. Umpire Nestor Chylak and Indians
reliever Tom Hilgendorf were both struck in the head
with chairs.

``It was like we were in a battle zone,'' umpire Joe
Brinkman said.

A crowd of 25,134 showed up that warm Tuesday night
enticed by the chance to drink as many beers as they
could handle for
10 cents apiece. And by the end of the night, it was
estimated that over 60,000 cups were quaffed.

Trouble had been brewing between the teams after
Rangers second baseman Lenny Randle intentionally ran
over Cleveland
pitcher Milt Wilcox a week earlier. Rangers fans
doused the Indians with beer afterward.

So when Texas arrived in Cleveland, Indians fans were
ready and the cheap beer was additional fuel. When
Rangers manager
Billy Martin delivered his lineup card before the
game, he was booed. Never one to back down, he
responded by tipping his
cap and blowing kisses.

Later, armed with a bat, Martin was running from the
fans.

Hargrove said nothing prepared him for the violence he
would later witness.

``I remember a father and son going out to center
field and mooning everybody,'' Hargrove said.
``Streakers were running
across the field and I remember one woman coming out
and running over to kiss an umpire.''

By the sixth inning with the Rangers leading 5-1, the
crowd had gotten rowdier and bolder.

Groups of fans began running onto the field.
Initially, they dashed out between innings, then
between outs and finally between
pitches. Some stopped to shake hands with players
before being escorted off the field by a badly
outnumbered security force.

As the Indians closed to 5-3 in the sixth, fireworks
and other projectiles were being launched toward the
Texas dugout.

``I remember getting spit on a lot and having a lot of
hot dogs thrown at me,'' Hargrove said. ``Somebody
threw a gallon jug of
Thunderbird wine at me.''

Sensing things were getting worse in the seventh, the
Rangers pitchers vacated their bullpen and headed to
the relative safety of
the dugout.

Then came the ninth, and mayhem.

Cleveland scored two runs to tie it 5-5. More fans
poured onto the field in celebration and one threw a
punch at Texas right
fielder Jeff Burroughs.

He punched back, and in an instant, he was surrounded
by a dozen fans.

``That's when Billy grabbed a bat,'' said photographer
Ron Kuntz, standing next to the Texas dugout. ``I'll
always remember
this, he grabbed a bat and said, `Let's get 'em boys.'

``The Rangers started going after that guy and before
you knew it, there were thousands of fans all over the
field. I was scared.
The only thing I can compare it to was when I was
covering riots in Venezuela and there were guys with
Uzis running around.''

Once he knew all the players had escaped the field,
Chylak gave the Rangers the 9-0 forfeit, one of only
four forfeits in the last
25 years.

While wiping away blood, Chylak told the Lorain
Journal, ``We went as far as we could go, but you
can't pull back
uncontrollable beasts. The last time I saw animals
like that was in the zoo.''

Tom Grieve, now a broadcaster for the Rangers, said
when he heard the game had been forfeited, he was
relieved for his
safety and that the two homers he hit were safely in
the books.

``I was afraid they wouldn't count. Fortunately, they
did. I didn't hit many, so I needed those two,'' said
Grieve, who hit 65 in a
nine-year career.

Like Hargrove, Brinkman still has a picture.

``I remember holding on to a guy who had been kicked
in the head. I'm holding him and blood is running down
his face,''
Brinkman said. ``I think there were about 10,000
people on the field at one time. It was scary.''