Happy 25th Anniversary: Let there be light in Wrigley Field
It was 25 years ago Thursday when Wrigley Field finally saw game action under the lights -- even though the 'game' didn't count after rain washed it away.
Before we get anywhere even close to saying something incorrect like "first night game," let us make it perfectly clear that the action that took place on Aug. 8, 1988 in Wrigley Field was washed away. So it would be inaccurate to say this is the silver anniversary of the first night game in Wrigley Field.
Still, it is the silver anniversary of the date with all the hype and build-up and festivities leading up to Wrigley Field finally getting night baseball. And it's the silver anniversary of the first game action under lights in Wrigley, even if said action didn't count in the record books.
The date was and still is very easy to remember, as it's 8/8/88. That's when the Cubs decided to unveil their new lights in Wrigley Field against the Phillies. It was the last ballpark in the majors to install lights and begin to play night games at home. This was done so under an MLB threat to not allow the Cubs to have any home playoff games unless the games were played at night. Coincidentally enough, the Cubs would make the playoffs next season.
Here's a video I was able to find on YouTube of the pre-game and early game footage. A bonus is the commercials haven't been cut out, so we get to see/remember what commercials were like in 1988. The Diet Slice spot is particularly and ridiculously '80s. An even bigger bonus? Bill Murray and Harry Caray in the pre-game. I also love seeing the lineups and remembering all those names.
"Turn 'em off! Turn the dang lights off!" was overheard after Phillies leadoff man Phil Bradley homered to start the game.
Again, nothing that happened in the actual game counted. It was rained out after 3 1/2 innings. A few of the Cubs came back out of the dugout and gave the sellout crowd a show by going slip-n-slide across the wet tarp.
And it was exactly 25 years ago Thursday.