Saturday, May 16, 2015

First American League Night Game May 16, 1939

On This Day in Baseball History May 16, 1939: The first American League night game took place at Philadelphia's Shibe Park when Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics hosted the Cleveland Indians in front of 15,109 fans.

The game would go into the 10th inning tied 3-3 until the Indians broke the game open with five runs in the top of the 10th. The Tribe would win the game by a score of 8-3.

The Athletics would become only the third MLB franchise to host a game under the lights after the Cincinnati Reds who were the first on May 24, 1935 and the Brooklyn Dodgers on June 15, 1938, which is significant in Baseball history as being the night when Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Vandermeer threw his second consecutive no-hitter.

It is believed that the first professional Baseball game under the light took place on May 2, 1930, when the Des Moines, Iowa, team hosted Wichita for a Western League game. Many minor league teams would use lights to play night games five years before the majors in an attempt to stay viable during the Great Depression.

Here is the box score to the May 16, 1939 night game between the Cleveland Indians and the Philadelphia Athletics:

It really is amazing to think of a time where Baseball games were played primarily during the daytime. Aside from the Cubs who still play the majority of their home games during the day, we take it for granted today that the majority of the games are played under the lights. And with the profit margins leaning higher during night games, I don't see MLB teams playing less games at night and more during the day, especially during the week.

Until Then Keep Playing Ball,
Baseball Sisco