Let there be light
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
and the lights came on illuminating Crosley Field in
Cincinnati to allow the Reds to play the
Philadelphia Phillies after dark.
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.
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,
’s night games were only played
during the week.
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