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On this day in 1934, Major League Baseball announced it would host its first night games

In 1934, MLB announces there will be night games

Next season, the average MLB team will play about 120 night games. It's become the norm. More fans can get to the ballpark, more people can watch the games on TV and players don't have to deal with the fly ball-devouring sun on a daily basis:

But before 1935, there was no such thing as games at night. The Minor Leagues had held contests under the lights for years, but they were seen as more of a gimmick than anything else. Reds GM Larry MacPhail changed that during a National League meeting on Dec. 11, 1934, pleading to experiment with night games in hopes of increasing attendance. A majority five teams voted in favor and National League President Ford Frick permitted that each NL team could host eight night games the following season (although Cincinnati would be the lone organization to do it).

The New York Times had a nice recap of Crosley Field's nighttime debut on May 24 of the '35 season headlined, "Hot Dogs for Dinner!"

"The flood-light inaugural, with President Roosevelt switching on the lights from Washington, was staged before a host of baseball notables, including Ford Frick, president of the National League, and Prexy Will Harridge of the American. The contest was errorless, despite the fact it was the first under lights for practically all the players."


The Reds beat the Phillies, 2-1, in front of the third-largest crowd of the season. The experiment was deemed a success, with fans even admitting they could see the ball better than they could during the day, and eventually, three years later, Brooklyn became the second team to host a night game. Weirdly enough, it was against the Reds and the day of Johnny Vander Meer's second consecutive no-hitter:


Over the next decade, lights were installed in most stadiums and playing at night became commonplace in both leagues. Well, except, of course, for Wrigley Field, which didn't host its first night game until 1988 and continues to play the majority of its home games during the day.