Rock On: 1980 Twins/Blue Jays game interrupted by concert
But a suspension for a rock concert isn’t something you see every day.
On Aug. 28, 1980, the Toronto Blue Jays and Minnesota Twins, facing off at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto, were forced to call it a day after 14 innings due to an upcoming concert scheduled to be held at the stadium that evening, featuring the rock band The Cars.
With the Canadian National Exhibition, an annual 18-day event held in Toronto, taking place, no inning could begin after 5 p.m. The game’s 1 p.m. start time would typically prevent that hurdle from arising – but not on this particular day.
“It was understood that no inning would begin after 5 p.m. and that if we ran into that situation, it would be a suspended game that would be completed the next day,” Howard Starkman, former vice president of media relations for the Blue Jays, said. “So we went into extra innings with the Twins, and the game was suspended after the 14th inning. Then, they took down the outfield fence, rolled the stage onto the field and let the fans in for the concert.”
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The 1980 incident was famous enough to be recounted – with some timeline errors – by Casey Kasem in an American Top 40 episode in 1982.
To Starkman, Stieb’s performance remains the most memorable part of a very odd couple of days.
“I have no recollection what the concert was, but I’ve always remembered the game because Stieb had to play the outfield,” Starkman said.
Janey Murray was the digital content specialist at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum