Baseball Judgments

Baseball Judgments |
Three ballpark promotions - they're gone now


By Roger Weber


1. Abner Powell is often credited for starting "Ladies day" at his team's park in New Orleans. But at Union Park in Brooklyn, often cited as the first enclosed ballpark, benches were reserved for ladies and in other cities in the 1870s women were allowed admission to games at reduced ticket prices because they added to a calm and less rowdy air in the bleachers.

            Ladies days were made official for the first time in 1909 and in some parks alcohol was not sold on those occasions. By the twenty-first century, though, most ladies days were eliminated or renamed for political correctness. Businessman specials, games usually held on weekday afternoons that offered some benefit to businessmen attending the game, have also faced a similar fate.

            In comparison to many other promotions, though, ladies' days over the years have been hugely successful.


2. One of the most wildly successful at selling seats but ultimately most horrendous in its final outcome was Disco Demolition Night in Chicago in 1979. This not-so-brilliant idea offered fans cheap tickets in exchange for used disco records. Thousands of fans, many of whom were allegedly high on marijuana, came out and rowdily threw their records and eventually stormed the field. Many started fires and the White Sox ultimately forfeited the game.


3. In June of 1974 Cleveland held 10-cent beer night at the stadium. The Indians and the Rangers, the team they faced on the ill-fated night, had a bench clearing brawl a week earlier at Texas but the Indians' organization still opted to hold the promotion to draw more people to the park. 25,000 came out to watch the Indians come back from a 5-1 deficit to tie the game in the ninth.

            Although several streakers crossed the field earlier in the game real trouble didn't start until the ninth inning. Fans stole the glove and cap of Texas outfielder Jeff Burroughs, and when teammates came to the irate Burroughs' aid fans charged the field. Fans still in the stands started throwing folding chairs and hit several players and one of the umpires. Cleveland was forced to forfeit the game, the first forfeit in the Major Leagues since fans in Washington D.C. literally started tearing RFK stadium apart at its last game in 1971.


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