First MLB Night Game On This Date 79 Years Ago In Cincinnati

The Cincinnati Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 on this night, May 24th 1935 in Major League Baseball’s first-ever night game, played courtesy of recently installed lights at Crosley Field in Cincinnati.

The first big league night game on this day in 1935 drew 25,000 fans, who stood by as President Roosevelt symbolically switched on the lights from Washington, D.C. To capitalize on their new evening fan base, the Reds played a night game that year against every National League team--eight games in total--and despite their lousy record of 68-85, paid attendance rose 117 percent.

Though baseball owners had a well-deserved reputation for being old-fashioned, most teams soon followed suit, as they knew night games would benefit their bottom line. Teams upgraded their facilities to include lights throughout the 1930s and 40s, and before long, most of the league had night games on the schedule.

Wrigley Field, on Chicago’s North Side--the second oldest major league park after Boston’s Fenway--was the last of the parks to begin hosting night games. Wrigley’s tradition of hosting only day games held for 74 seasons until August 8, 1988, when the Cubs hosted the Philadelphia Phillies.





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