Saturday, August 9, 2008

20 Years Ago: The Night the Lights Went On at Wrigley

It's not often that Dave and I are present for truly historical moments, but we were there the night the lights went on at Wrigley.

Joan Green, a lifelong Cubs fan, took us, along with her son, Bill, to the game on August 9th, 1988, which thanks to Mother Nature, was the first official night game at Wrigley Field. I don't remember exactly where we sat, although my gut says it was the Bleachers. We always sat in the Bleachers.

As everyone knows, Wrigley Field did not have lights, which meant that all their games were played during the day. This made Wrigley unique among Major League parks, as they had all installed lights many years earlier. But Wrigley was the sole hold-out because the area residents, and Wrigley is set in the heart of the residential Lakeview neighborhood, and the City of Chicago would not allow them.

Because of the daytime only games, the Cubs couldn't host the All-Star Game, which they wanted to do.

After many protests and negotiations, the Chicago City Council finally allowed a very limited number of night games and lights were installed and some believe defiled the beauty of Wrigley.

The first night game was set for August 8th, but Mother Nature had other plans and the game was rained out after 3 1/2 innings and the Cubs leading the Phillies 3-1. So the August 9th game against the Mets became the official first game and we just happened to be there (and the Cubs won 6-4!).

Thanks Joan! We love you and still miss you everyday, but cherish all the wonderful memories you gave us.

Here's a cool retrospective video.


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