June 4, 2015

It Happened on June 4th

Cleveland Indians Fans Riot, 1974


It's hard to believe that anyone thought that Ten Cent Beer Night would be a good idea.

It was a special promotion for a home game of the Cleveland Indians, playing against Texas Rangers on June 4, 1974. Eight ounces of beer for 10 cents -- and as much as you could drink.

The game was a little edgy to begin with. One week earlier there had been a bench-clearing brawl between the two teams at a game in Texas. There was cheap beer there that night, too.

Attendance-wise, I guess you could say the promotion was a success. 25,134 fans attended. The average was around 8,000.

By the end of the first inning some of the fans had started lighting firecrackers in the stands. Pretty soon a woman was flashing her breasts in the on-deck circle, and a streaker ran onto the field and slid into second base. (Ouch.) More innings, more streakers. Hot dogs, spit, and empty bottles were thrown into the Rangers' bullpen.

At the bottom of the ninth inning, the score was tied, and a fan rushed onto the field and stole Ranger Jeff Burroughs's glove. When he tried to get it back, he tripped and fell. His manager, Billy Martin, thought he had been attacked and ran onto the field. His players followed him, armed with bats. Then fans came onto the field -- with knives, chains, and portions of the seats that they had torn apart. The Indians realized that the Rangers' lives were in danger, so they came onto the field with bats as well.

The live telecast was suspended, but radio coverage continued. One of the announcers mentioned that the police hadn't arrived. Soon after that, they got there.

Ultimately, the game was forfeited to the Rangers, as is usually done when a game can't continue due to the behavior of the hometown fans. There were three more Beer Nights that season at Cleveland Municipal Stadium -- but the deal was only good for four beers per person.

Emily Davison Run Down by Horse, 1913

Emily Davison
Emily Davison was a suffragette. She'd performed a number of protest actions, some of which seem a little strange, or at least misguided. She assaulted a man because she believed him to be Lloyd George, the Chancellor of the Exchequer -- he was actually a Baptist minister. She went on a few hunger strikes while in prison, but was force-fed. At one point she threw herself down a metal staircase while in prison, thinking that it would look bad for the authorities if she was injured while imprisoned. (She landed on some wire netting 30 feet below.) For the 1911 census, she wanted to be able to honestly say that her address was the "House of Commons," so she hid in a cupboard and spent the night there. She also planted a bomb at the home of Lloyd George.

On June 4, 1913, Davison attended the Epsom Derby, which was attended by George V and other notables. King George's horse, Anmer, was running. As the horses came around the final bend, Davison stepped out in front of Anmer and was trampled. The horse fell and the jockey was dragged for a short distance. Davison was taken to the hospital, and died on the 8th of June of a fractured skull and internal injuries.

On the racetrack
No one knows exactly what Davison had in mind. Some thought it was a suicide attempt, but Davison had a return train ticket in her pocket and a ticket to a suffragette dance later that day. Others thought that she was merely crossing the track, and that she thought all the horses had already passed. (It was around a curve, and Anmer was third from the last.) However, since Davison had been seen "practicing" stopping horses and throwing banners over them in a local park, and since she was found with a suffragette flag on her person, it seems likely that she was trying to attach the flag to the horse. The idea was that the King's horse would cross the finish line wearing a suffragette flag.

Herbert Jones, the jockey, suffered a mild concussion, but was ever afterwards haunted by the event. He committed suicide in 1951.

Mozart Holds Funeral for His Sparrow, 1787

Wolfgang Amadeus: quite the bird-lover.
Mozart's sparrow was named Vogel Star. The bird had been with him for a little over three years, covering the years that saw the birth of Mozart's second son, the birth and death of his third son, and a serious kidney infection on Mozart's part.

He was obviously very attached to the bird. It may be, in part, because the bird was able to sing his music, or at least some of it. Vogel Star could whistle variations on Mozart's Piano Concerto in G Major. It's also possible that Mozart was working out some of his grief for his father, who had died just a week earlier.

When the bird died, Mozart persuaded his friends to attend the funeral, composed new music (which has since been lost) and recited a poem he had written in the bird's honor. The poem read, in part:

"Here lies a bird called Starling,
A foolish little Darling.
He was still in his prime
When he ran out of time..."

Oh well. Perhaps it sounded better in German.

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