Today is the 25th anniversary of the first official night game at Wrigley Field. The night before, on 8/8/88, the Cubs turned on the lights—and got rained out:
Cubs right-hander Rick Sutcliffe threw the first pitch. Phillies left fielder Phil Bradley hit the first home run. Cubs second baseman and future Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg stole the first base.
Officially, of course, none of that happened. Heavy rain interrupted play after 3 1/2 innings and the game was called after a delay of two hours and 10 minutes. Technically, the first night game came the following evening, when the Cubs defeated the first-place Mets, 6-4.
Details, details. Anybody who was there on 8-8-88 will tell you that's the date that counts. And they're probably right. Because that just might have been the most publicized, scrutinized, highly-anticipated, talked-about and written-about regular-season game ever. Especially for a dog-days matchup between a pair of second-division teams.
The theory was, of course, that night games would help the club. How have the Cubs done since? Well...they've played more night games, at least. They've probably helped make the neighborhood a party zone, too. It's hard to remember the Wrigleyville of the 1980s, which looked a little like Detroit does today.
The Cubs' next night game at Wrigley is next Monday. They have, at this writing, a 40% chance of winning.