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Thursday, October 22, 2020

How Wrigley Field got lights, night games in 1988 |

What few know is that, had the Cubs managed to make that history in 1985, not 2016, the long-anticipated final out still would have been recorded on the road, no matter which game they clinched the title. The Cubs could have been the “home” team in this ’85 scenario and, regardless, been playing in a ballpark other than Wrigley.

... This letter [by Cubs GM Dallas Green] to Cubs season-ticket holders—dated July 19, 1985—goes on to explain the financial limitations of Wrigley, the national television contract that allowed the networks to insist on night World Series games and the warning the Cubs had received from the new Commissioner, Peter Ueberroth, that MLB was prepared to take the drastic action in ‘85 (moving the Cubs’ home [playoff] games away from their home park)

... with the Cubs in the midst of a court battle over the ban on night games that had reached the Illinois Supreme Court, and with MLB and the networks pushing hard for the lights situation to get settled, a greater sense of urgency was in the air.

The Cubs had conversations with MLB about at least two possible postseason “home” sites—Milwaukee County Stadium and St. Louis’ Busch Stadium.

Interesting piece in light of this year’s “neutral site” World Series.  Got to thinking, when was the last (or ever?) time the WS home team did not play at home?  Turns out it might have been the Chicago Cubs.  In 1918 they subcontracted Comiskey Park to host the Boston Red Sox, reportedly due to its larger seating capacity than Cubs Park (later renamed Wrigley Field.)  According to the article, a Comiskey option was swiftly dismissed in 1985.

Snowboy Posted: October 22, 2020 at 06:32 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, television, world series

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   1. villageidiom Posted: October 26, 2020 at 04:36 PM (#5985538)
Got to thinking, when was the last (or ever?) time the WS home team did not play at home?
I think you're right about 1918. Earlier than that, for three consecutive years (1914-1916) the Boston team in the World Series played their WS home games in the other Boston team's home park. In 1914 the Braves played their WS games at Fenway (having abandoned the South End Grounds in August) and continued playing there until Braves Field opened the following August. And then in 1915 and 1916 the Red Sox played their WS home games at Braves Field.
   2. Itchy Row Posted: October 26, 2020 at 05:09 PM (#5985544)
MLB considered moving the 1989 WS away from the Bay Area after the earthquake. The Cubs won their division that year, so, if they'd beaten the Giants in the NLCS, the A's would have been at Wrigley instead of Candlestick when the earthquake happened.
   3. Howie Menckel Posted: October 26, 2020 at 05:20 PM (#5985550)
I know a photog who was sent out to Chicago for that first night game - 8/8/88, and it was rained out.

some of the locals swore the rain wouldn't end until the lights were removed.

proud both to have been to Wrigley before they even HAD lights - and never attending a night game in another dozen or so pilgrimage weekends since. hmm, can't exactly explain it but have stuck to it.
   4. Tin Angel Posted: October 26, 2020 at 05:33 PM (#5985556)
I was at the first official night game at Wrigley against the Mets (the Phillies had been rained out the night before). Being an 11 year old Mets fan, the one thing I most distinctly remember (besides all the "F the Mets" shirts being sold outside) is Dykstra going back for a fly ball at the warning track and someone dumping his beer on him as he waited for it to come down. The entire place gave the guy a standing ovation.
   5. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 26, 2020 at 05:36 PM (#5985558)
Dykstra going back for a fly ball at the warning track and someone dumping his beer on him as he waited for it to come down. The entire place gave the guy a standing ovation.
Quite prescient, that fan.
   6. Itchy Row Posted: October 26, 2020 at 06:17 PM (#5985566)
   7. Snowboy Posted: October 26, 2020 at 10:06 PM (#5985595)
Thanks to whoever has keys, and posted my attempt at contribution.

From TFA:

the C.U.B.S. -- as in, Citizens United for Baseball in Sunshine. Representatives of the Wrigleyville neighborhood banded together to fight the Tribune Company at every turn in its plans to install lights at Wrigley. They were already irked about the parking problems, traffic and noise caused by 81 day games. They worried that rowdy, inebriated fans would cause even more havoc at night.

“They can play night ball,” C.U.B.S. member Charlotte Newfeld told an Illinois House committee in 1982, “but not in our neighborhood.”

Green’s cantankerous and coarse tone only emboldened the C.U.B.S., who would come to games wearing T-shirts that said, “No Lights in Wrigley Field” and stage rallies outside the ballpark. They were organized enough to get both the Illinois legislature and the Chicago City Council to effectively ban night games at Wrigley.

My earliest baseball memory is Bucky Dent, and although I subscribed to SI in the 80s, I guess we had limited other baseball coverage except the box score. We could get WBMX radio on a clear night, but of course they never talked about baseball there. I fell out with hockey in the early 90s, and around then would often find myself between classes watching WGN with Harry Caray and Steve Stone.

I failed to catch on that the Cubs hated Wrigley Field for its confinements, and its local citizens for restricting them from installing lights. The article says the Cubs fought them up to the state Superior Court, and had received threatening letters from the two most recent Commissioners of Baseball by 1985 about the need/requirement to install lights and have night games? I thought they were just the lovable loser Cubs who kept playing day games because that's how it's always been, and that's the way it was, and that's how they liked it!?
   8. Snowboy Posted: October 26, 2020 at 10:07 PM (#5985596)
Also, the modern translation of "C.U.B.S." is "N.I.M.B.Y."
   9. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: October 27, 2020 at 02:00 PM (#5985698)
ykstra's beer shower

I'm not sure why Dykstra was so upset - I'm sure his uniform was already soaked in beer.

Also, while I have a vague memory of Sid Fernandez, was he always that slow a worker? He would have fit in nicely with today's pitchers.
   10. The Honorable Ardo Posted: October 27, 2020 at 05:46 PM (#5985753)
Citizens United for Baseball in Sunshine.

After all these years, now I know who was behind the Citizens United court case!

The Cubs didn't win the night game tussle until they credibly threatened to build a new ballpark in the northwest suburbs. The Sears Center was later built on one of the candidate sites (in Hoffman Estates).

Then in 2017 Joe Maddon publicly joined Theo and Co. in unsuccessfully lobbying Chicago politicians and then-Mayor Emanuel for more night games at Wrigley. The caps were waived temporarily for fan-less pandemic ball this season. To be continued...
   11. Meatwad Posted: October 28, 2020 at 11:23 AM (#5986089)
I really dont get the people fighting against night games and complaining about the parking. Wrigley wss there long before they moved into the neighborhood.

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