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Braves Beat The Freeze Among Best Baseball Promotions Ever

By Rick Bouch

It was the 1960s when major league baseball teams began giving away items like bats, balls, and hats to fans. Now fifty years later, teams have a whole promotional schedule for fan giveaways and more. There are all sorts of ways to get people in the stands and the Atlanta Braves have a hold on the 2017 season’s best promotion – Beat the Freeze. Here’s a look at the Freeze Race as well as some of the best baseball promotions of all-time.

Beat The Freeze

The Braves came up with one of the most brilliant mid-inning promotions when they discovered ‘The Freeze,’ aka Nigel Talton, on their grounds crew. Talton was a high school track star who also ran in college at Iowa Wesleyan and Shorter University.

Last year when the Braves’ promotion was retrieving a base from the left-field corner in 20 seconds, Talton shattered the record. Braves management then approached him about a mid-inning contest where a fan is given a 200-foot head start in a race from foul pole to foul pole.

Beat the Freeze went viral earlier this season when an unsuspecting fan thought he had the race wrapped up. He ended up face-first on the Atlanta Braves warning track after the Freeze (Talton) passed him and won easily.

Adding to the promotion is the ice blue suit and goggles worn by Talton.

Disco Demolition Night

The Chicago White Sox have had a long history of unique promotions thanks to former owner Bill Veeck. In July of 1979, the White Sox hosted Disco Demolition Night.

As part of an anti-disco movement, the White Sox looked to draw some fans by blowing up a crate filled with disco records in between the two games of a twi-night doubleheader. Expecting about 25,000, the White Sox drew nearly double that. The demolition took place but damaged the outfield enough that Chicago had to forfeit the second game of the doubleheader.

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Jay Buhner Buzz Cut Night

Buhner was an outfielder for the Mariners in the 1990s and was known for his shaved head. Seattle ran the Buzz Cut Night promotion several times and it was always one of the biggest draws each season. Fans that showed up to the Seattle Kingdome with a buzz cut or completely shaved head received a free ticket for the right field area. Buhner even shaved a few heads himself.

Never Again: 10-cent Beer Night

Even in 1974, a 10-cent beer was a big deal. The Cleveland Indians, which were drawing about 8,000 fans a game, decided a beer promotion could fill the stands. They were correct. Roughly 25,000 showed up for a game against Texas.

Rowdy fans tried to steal the hat of Rangers outfielder Jeff Burroughs. A riot ensued and Texas players stormed out of their dugout wielding bats. Rangers manager Mike Hargrove would go on to eventually manage the Indians. He supposedly kept a picture on the wall in his Cleveland office from his experience at 10-cent Beer Night.

Hammer Time vs. Mule Time

Former Oakland A’s owner Charlie O. Finley was well known for his eccentricities. When the A’s had an ’80s Day celebration, Finley and the organization gave away 15,000 MC Hammer bobbleheads.

Hammer, who hails from the Oakland area, was a former team batboy in his youth. The Hammer promotion likely went over much better than one of Finley’s earlier ideas. When the franchise was still in Kansas City, Finley had players ride to their positions on mules.

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