Many of us along the East Coast have been snowed in this weekend; trapped in our homes unable to finish last minute Christmas shopping, and putting a stop to many plans. This got me thinking, sure games have been called on account of rain and the occasional snow storm, but what other events have paralyzed America's Pastime?
September 15, 1946 - The atmosphere of Ebbets Field was already tense that evening as the Dodgers battled the Cubs. However, Dodgers' pitcher Kirby Higbe was having difficulty keeping a sudden swarm of gnats away. The swarm invaded the stands as twilight fell causing fans to swat away at them with their scorecards. Seeing the large number of scorecards waving in the stands, the umpires decided that the fielders would have difficulty seeing the ball. So, they called the game, with the Dodgers ahead 2-0.
September 30, 1971 - Robert F. Kennedy Field was not a happy place to be as it was to be the final game the Senators would play before the franchise was shipped off to Texas. The Senators, however, were going to go out on top as they were defeating the Yankees 7-5. With two outs in the final inning a large group of loyal Senators fans angry at owner Bob Short stormed the field, virtually gutting the stadium for souvenirs. The crowd was so unruly, that the Senators were forced to forfeit the game, thus ending the season, and the franchise.
June 4, 1974 - The geniuses at Cleveland's Municipal Stadium decided to hold a Ten-Cent Beer night after seeing the success of an identical promotion held by the Rangers weeks earlier. Since the Rangers were coming to town, the decision was made to sell 8 oz. of Stroh's beer to fans watching the game. The promotion initially started well, bringing in nearly double the amount of people to the game that evening. However, by the ninth inning, intoxication had set in, and the crowd was wild. One fan attempted to swipe the hat off of Rangers' outfielder Jeff Burroughs, an event that set off the chain reaction that ended in a serious riot. Fans attacked players, throwing beer cans and bottles, seats, rocks, food, and folding chairs onto the field. Umpire Nestor Chylak forfeited the game to Texas.
July 12, 1979 - In a bizarre promotion, disc jockey Steve Dahl of WLUP along with Mike Veeck (son of White Sox owner Bill Veeck)decided that the best way to lure fans to the upcoming White Sox-Tigers doubleheader would be to bring in disco records in exchange for a $0.98 ticket. The promoters told fans that the unwanted albums would then be placed in the middle of Cominsky Park and exploded. They anticipated a crowd of around 12,000 to take advantage of this event, instead 90,000 fans turned up (the stadium itself held 52,000). At the close of the first game, Dahl lived up to his promise and rode out to the field with all the albums and explosives. The resulting bang left a hole in center field and a small fire. Fans charged the field and added to the damage by throwing more albums Frisbee-style, lighting more fires, stealing the bases, and tearing down the batting cages. The second game was immediately cancelled. Because the White Sox had "failed to provide acceptable playing conditions" the second game was forfeited to the Tigers.
*Incidentally, White Sox outfielder Rusty Torres, who played that evening, was playing for the Yankees at the Senators last game, and the Indians for Ten Cent Beer Night.
September 13, 1991 - A 55-ton concrete beam crashed onto a walkway at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, forcing the Expos to play their last 13 games of the season on the road.
July 19, 1994 - Four ceiling tiles fell just hours before the Seattle Mariners were to host the Baltimore Orioles at the Kingdome. The damage to the roof cost $70 million to repair and the Mariners were to play the next 15 games on the road, before the strike abbreviated the season.
April 13, 1998 - A 500 pound steel joint falls from the upper deck of Yankee Stadium forcing the Yankees to trade three home games with the Tigers, and playing one home game at Shea Stadium.
August 10, 1995 - The Dodgers were hosting the St. Louis Cardinals on Ball Night, where thousands of fans received promotional baseballs. All was going smoothly until the Dodgers started batting at the bottom of the 9th, with the Dodgers down 2-1. The first batter, Raul Mondesi, was ejected after arguing with umpire Jim Quick. Tommy Lasorda was also ejected after arguing Mondesi's expulsion. The fans went crazy and bombarded the field with thousands of baseballs, forcing the umpires to call the came in favor of the Cardinals.
*****In 1982, Opening Day in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh was cancelled due to heavy snow. Happy first day of winter!
Disco Demolition Night Coverage