*1935 | CINCINNATI, OHIO – The first night game took place on this date in 1935. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt flipped a switch from Washington, D.C. creating that now familiar glow emanating from night baseball. The first game under the lights took place at Crosley Field in Cincinnati where the Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 before 20,422 fans.
Night baseball is commonplace today, but it took a while to catch on. A number of charter major league teams were still without lights well into the 1940’s (well into the 1980’s for the Cubs).
It’s a wonder night baseball didn’t arrive sooner because it brought out the fans. Attendance went up just about everywhere lights went up.
According to The Sporting News, September, 1940 issue, the New York Yankees led the majors in total attendance that year with a little over a million fans. That’s about 17,000 per game at Yankee Stadium which did not have lights. Cleveland had lights, and averaged 33,000 fans when it played at night, which was only during the week.