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View Full Version : Why did MLB allow fans to run on the field in the 70s?


Hitmen77
02-06-2009, 10:33 AM
I have enjoyed watching the MLB Network, but it's raised this question for me:

In highlights from pre-1970s games, I never see fans running on to the field to celebrate a championship.

Then in the 70s, it apparently was allowed. Those Yankees highlights were insane. That Chris Chambliss pennant winning HR was just nuts. He could barely cross the plate in the mob of fans. When the Yankees won the WS in '77 or '78, I remember Reggie Jackson running for his life from the outfield to the safety of the dugout to escape the jubilant mob. Hank Aaron's 715 HR highlight shows a couple of fans running up to him as he ran the bases! :o: ***?

....and of course I remember the 1983 AL West championship for the Sox when fans ran on to the field to celebrate our division title. Obviously, at some point, baseball teams put a stop to this. You just don't see that anymore. When did they put a stop to the "fans on the field" thing.....and why did they even allow it in the first place.

bigsoxfan420
02-06-2009, 10:43 AM
I don't know if it was ever allowed, it was probably not just enforced as much, though it was probably still enfored. The comedian Artie Lange tells a story in his new book about watching the Yankees win the World Series with his father. Artie's father tells him to run on the field and to meet him at the short stop position. Artie quotes his father as telling him "don't worry, the cops wont' beat up a kid, and I'll just tell them I have to find my son, so we'll be okay". So it seems to me the cops beating people up would mean is "wasn't allowed".

SOXfnNlansing
02-06-2009, 10:44 AM
MLB never let fans run out on the field. Hank said in an interview he was terrified when that happened. As far as I know, those people were thrown in the clink.

jabrch
02-06-2009, 10:46 AM
MLB never let fans run out on the field.

http://www.theloveofsports.com/images/uploads/large/Morganna.jpg

Really? Morgana says otherwise.

doublem23
02-06-2009, 10:51 AM
Fans used to buy tickets that were basically on the field, even up to (IIRC) the 1920s.

Simpler time, I guess.

michned
02-06-2009, 11:23 AM
I remember in 1980 watching the Phillies / Royals WS, and wondering how many people were going to run on the field after the last out. Then, in the 9th inning, Philadelphia police officers basically lined up along the foul lines before the last out. I think many even had dogs. But it struck me that they were not going to allow fans to run on the field, and, like you said, that was sort of expected during that decade.

I know fans stormed the field after the Mets won in '69, I'm wondering if that was the beginning of it.

Iwritecode
02-06-2009, 11:38 AM
Fans used to buy tickets that were basically on the field, even up to (IIRC) the 1920s.

Simpler time, I guess.

http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=109155

DumpJerry
02-06-2009, 11:49 AM
http://www.theloveofsports.com/images/uploads/large/Morganna.jpg

Really? Morgana says otherwise.
You do realize that was the last time a Royals' player had anything to smile about?

Lip Man 1
02-06-2009, 12:28 PM
In the later part of the 1970's when the Yankees became good again and actually starting drawing fans, the bleachers there were the absolute worst folks in MLB.

Things were being thrown on the field, fights were taking place, it was a complete zoo. It made the activity at Wrigley Field today like look like those bleachers were in church.

The talk was and I've never been able to get confirmation that it got to the point where Steinbrenner hired off duty NYC cops and former cops and gave them carte blanch to do whatever they needed to do to clean it up.

Supposedly if they got you for doing something stupid they took you to a little room underneath the stands where they had a "discussion" with you. That "discussion" generally left the individual black and blue with numerous bumps, bruises and contusions.

Don't know if that is simply an urban myth but it is a fact that the bleachers in NY were cleaned up in a short period of time.

Lip

Nellie_Fox
02-06-2009, 12:59 PM
Supposedly if they got you for doing something stupid they took you to a little room underneath the stands where they had a "discussion" with you. That "discussion" generally left the individual black and blue with numerous bumps, bruises and contusions.The same thing used to happen in old Comiskey, when all of the security were off-duty Chicago cops. I saw obnoxious fans get removed, later to return looking pale, shaken, and being very, very quiet.

LITTLE NELL
02-06-2009, 03:00 PM
I think they got tougher after the fans at Shea went beserk in 69 and just about destroyed the field as the miracle Mets won everything.
Its pretty hard to stop say 20,000 fans in the lower bowl of a stadium if they all decide to rush the field.

DaveFeelsRight
02-06-2009, 03:10 PM
It's obvious that once a few run on to the field, it's hard to stop the rest of the people. But what I want to know is, how did they leave?

SOXPHILE
02-06-2009, 03:26 PM
Fans ran all over the field after Bill Mazeroski hit the series winning home run in the 1960 series too, when he was still circling the bases.

Foulke You
02-06-2009, 06:51 PM
Don't know if that is simply an urban myth but it is a fact that the bleachers in NY were cleaned up in a short period of time.

Lip
The bleachers at Yankee Stadium must have still had some problems even into the 90s because I believe it was in the early part of this decade that they decided to ban beer sales completely in the bleacher section to help keep order.:o: However, the level of problems might not have been the zoo that existed in the 70s.

october23sp
02-09-2009, 05:18 PM
MLB never let fans run out on the field. Hank said in an interview he was terrified when that happened. As far as I know, those people were thrown in the clink.

The two fans congratulating him, to me, is one of my favorite images in baseball. I'm sure he was scared to death but I'm happy they didn't hurt him and left a great image on baseball.

soxinem1
02-09-2009, 05:44 PM
Hmmm, I seem to remember the fans rushing the field after Baines sac fly off Ed Vandeberg in 1983 at Comiskey.....

There is also that oft-repeated shot of the two fans running up to Hank Aaron after he hit #715....

I remmeber fans throwing quaters at Reggie Jackson, and Reggie picking up many of them.

Of course I also remember seeing a video clip of a Yankee fan reaching up for a HR ball, exposing the 9mm he had tucked under his belt. This was about two weeks before 9/11/01......

I think the $$$$ given to players has made injury risk an issue as well, not to mention the Nancy Kerrigan issue in the 90's.

And they are right. The fans do not belong on the field during game time.

Viva Medias B's
02-09-2009, 07:47 PM
I remember the last night game at the Old Comiskey Park when right after the final out, Chicago's finest in riot gear along with mounted police lined the perimeter of the field with a paddy wagon parked in front of the center field wall.

Bucky F. Dent
02-09-2009, 10:13 PM
MLB never let fans run out on the field. Hank said in an interview he was terrified when that happened. As far as I know, those people were thrown in the clink.


Given the letters he received leading up to that night, he had every reason to be terrified. There are some sick people out there.

voodoochile
02-09-2009, 11:03 PM
Given the letters he received leading up to that night, he had every reason to be terrified. There are some sick people out there.

Yep and a lot of this stuff changed for good the day Monica Seles got stabbed. At least for me that's when things seemed to change. Maybe there were incidents before that that I am unfamiliar with, but that's the one that sticks out as the moment fans on the field became something to be concerned about.

Hitmen77
02-14-2009, 09:39 PM
I noticed on the old World Series highlights from the 50s that it looks like some fans walked across the field at the end of games at Yankee Stadium and Ebbets Field just as their path of exit from the ballpark.

Lip Man 1
02-15-2009, 12:32 AM
Correct.

Lip

monkeypants
02-15-2009, 02:51 AM
I noticed on the old World Series highlights from the 50s that it looks like some fans walked across the field at the end of games at Yankee Stadium and Ebbets Field just as their path of exit from the ballpark.
That sort of blew my mind. A World Series game just ended and a mass wave of fans are just walking across the field to the exits in the outfield walls. Much different times than they are now.

Red Barchetta
02-15-2009, 11:25 AM
http://www.theloveofsports.com/images/uploads/large/Morganna.jpg

Really? Morgana says otherwise.

Wow! 25 years later, I wonder what results Gravity has had on Morgana! :o:

doogiec
02-15-2009, 11:48 AM
I watched the 1964 WS highlights on MLB channel last night, they also showed clips of fans storming the field after the final out. It included two men helping a woman wearing a dress climb down the outfield wall at old Busch (it looked to be a 12 foot drop or so).

Its not surprising to see that in New York, I wouldn't have expected that out of the normally sedate St Louis crowd.

Also worth note is that the video is narrated by Harry Caray. Its always worth hearing how good he sounded before the Cubs turned Harry into a caricature of himself.

downstairs
02-16-2009, 02:11 PM
From what I recall, it stopped in 1986 after the Mets realized the field was really damaged heavily during the World Series, after fans ran out after the division clincher or NLCS clincher. Very hazy memory, but I believe hearing that MLB was going to put a stop to it.

I'm sure it was never allowed, but they just didn't have the manpower back then to hold back 30,000 frenzied fans.

I know I've seen fans on the field after the World Series in nearly every decade before the mid-80's. However, I think sports in general got rowdier and less formal by the 1970s- that's why it happened more. Remember, people used to dress up in suits to go to the game a few decades before that!