Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Let There Be Light

On Monday, Night Owl announced the winner of his Awesomest Night Card Tournament.

This card of Wrigley Field made it to the semifinals, but of course, couldn't win the big prize. The Cubs can't even win a championship in the blogosphere!

But the night time Wrigley card leads me to a recent purchase...

...this program from the first night game at Wrigley Field on 8-8-88. As if God were saying, "No night games at Wrigley!" the first game only lasted 3 1/2 innings before a downpour washed the game out. It's hard for me to believe that the lights were installed almost 23 years ago. A person would have to be nearly 30 years old to really remember all day baseball at Wrigley. Yet in my mind, the Cubs still are a day baseball team.

The first night game really was a circus. There was a ton of media at the game, a 91 year old Cubs fan, Harry Grossman, pushed a ceremonial button to turn on the lights, Morganna the Kissing Bandit came out on the field and kissed Ryne Sandberg, and then the rain came. The Chicago area had been going through a drought in 1988 (my front lawn was a brown patch), but rain came in buckets on August 8. There was even an incident during the rain delay. A few Cubs, including a very young Greg Maddux, decided to do belly flops on the tarp to entertain the fans. Manager Don Zimmer was not entertained and the players were all fined.

I scanned a few of the pictures from the program that show the installation of the lights. During 1988 I would always try to watch the first home game after a long road trip to see what progress was made on the lights. I have always been impressed with how well the light towers fit into the design of the ballpark. Wrigley didn't get gigantic towers like most of the old ballparks did when their lights were installed in the '30s and '40s. I guess that was the advantage of waiting 40 years to put them in!


  1. Very cool!! Wrigley is on my list a stadiums that I can't wait to see ... one of these days. Hard to believe it's been over 20 something years.

  2. I may be a little biased (OK...I'm a lot biased!), but every baseball fan should experience a game at Wrigley at least once.

  3. I was fortunate enough to see Wrigley in 1986, before lights were installed. One game in the box seats and one game in the bleachers. I bought one of those yellow "No lights in Wrigley Field" t-shirts. I haven't been back since, so I look forward to seeing it with lights.