Sixty years ago on this very day – August 9 – all eight Major League games (four games in each league) were played at night for the first time in baseball history. The Boston Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, St. Louis Browns, and Washington Senators all played home games with their stadiums outfitted with lights (only the Braves and Senators won their games – against the New York Giants and Philadelphia Athletics, respectively).
Night games were becoming increasingly popular in the post-World War II period, though teams had been sporadically using temporary free-standing lights since the 1930s, as Baseball was increasingly taking advantage of technological advances to reach out to fans. Yellow baseballs were tried out in an attempt to help players see the ball, and the Brooklyn Dodgers experimented with players wearing satin jerseys in the late 1940s to help fans see the jerseys in night games much more clearly.
Of course the Chicago Cubs did not attempt a night game at Wrigley Field until August 8, 1988 (8/8/88), but that game was rained out in the 4th inning, and the first official night game was eighteen years ago today, with the Cubs winning 6-4.
This image is a painting entitled "The First Night Game" by J.M. Mott Smith, image courtesy of the Baseball Hall of Fame, and is used in our Fine Arts module entitled "Painting the Corners." The very first night game in a stadium with permanent lighting was on May 24, 1935 at Crosley Field in Cincinnati.
This is just one example of how we use baseball as a platform in the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Education Department to teach students when you schedule a videoconference or an on-site school visit!
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