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MAY 24 (1935) - Lights*
By Bill Grimes
May 24, 2007 - 5:16 AM

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Let there be light    

CINCINNATI , OHIO MAY 24, 1935 For the first time, on this date in baseball history, a glow came from a major league ballpark at night. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt flipped a switch (remotely from Washington, D.C.) and the lights came on illuminating Crosley Field in Cincinnati to allow the Reds to play the Philadelphia Phillies after dark. Cincinnati won 2-1.

Night baseball is common place today, even in Wrigley Field, but it took a while to catch on. A number of charter major league teams were still without lights well into the 1940’s (well into the 1980’s for the Chicago Cubs). It’s a wonder night baseball didn’t arrive sooner because it was readily apparent night games brought out the fans. Attendance went up just about everywhere lights went up. According to The Sporting News, September, 1940 issue, the New York Yankees led the majors in total attendance that year with a little over a million fans. That came to about 17,000 fans per game at Yankee Stadium which did not have lights. Cleveland , which had lights, averaged 33,000 when it played at night. And while the Yankee per game average no doubt got a boost from weekend games, Cleveland ’s night games were only played during the week. 

Read on:
http://bss.sfsu.edu/tygiel/hist490/mlbattendance.htm
http://www.baseball-almanac.com/teams/reds.shtml
http://www.baseball-almanac.com/tsn/night_game_attendance.shtml


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