397779 years ago tonight: Crosley Field's first night game.
- May 24, 2014
(We found this story by James T. Golden Jr. in the May 25, 1935 Cincinnati Enquirer.)
The bands played, President Roosevelt turned on the lights, everybody said "Oh!" in a highly pleased way, Chlozza busted a fast one out towards Cassiopeia's Chair – and 20,422 fans got fandom's first introduction to night baseball in the big leagues.
Whether Cassiopeia was leaning down from her constellation to watch the Redlegs and the Phillies wasn't known, nor was it known whether she could have seen through the light clouds that commenced to drift across from over left field at about the end of the second inning, seeming to stay at about the height of the encircling lights and never dropping below them.
All that the fans cared about was that the visibility was plenty good from the stands and the bleachers, that the field showed up in a more uniform light, green and tan than it does in daytime. It was as brilliant with the trim little white figures running about it, as a new baseball game board in the window of the corner drugstore.
What clouds there were were so thin that the ball, when it flew high, shone through them like a bald head in a steam room. And when there was no mist, the sphere stood out against the sky like a pearl against dark velvet.
The great batteries of lights never seemed to bother either the spectators or the boys on the field. Big and bright as they were, one could look directly into them without winking an eye.
For once the fans in the bleachers were as cool as the spectators in the stands -- maybe a little cooler because the spring month of 1935 annals of the year as "Nippy May" wasn't much warmer last night than she had been. There were enough overcoats and blankets in evidence to supply a football crowd, but the crispness of the air just reminded everybody that Crosley Field is going to be a swell place to go for amusement on hot summer nights.
The beautiful sex was well represented (President Roosevelt might have been gratified to note the preponderance of soprano "Oh's" that greeted his successful long distance light-turning-oning). But the stands were packed with thousands of the strong, silent sex (which is really sort of weak and very vociferous at a baseball game) – from callow youths accustomed to burning the midnight oil to elderly gentlemen who used to sit in the boiling sun and root for Ty Cobb, and then go home and go to bed with the chickens, but who now elect to stay up with the bats and yell for Billy Myers.
Charles Rieckel, whose hundredth birthday is coming with October, who hasn't missed an opener for 35 years since he was a mere youth of 65, and wo can't remember missing an outstanding game since the 80's made a special trip up to Cincinnati from his home in Cynthiana, Ky. To see something new under the sun or rather under the moon.
Most of the old timers at thee game agreed last night that big-league baseball under Mr. Crosley's $50,000 worth of illuminating equipment is quite a bit different from playing checkers under a coal oil lamp, and that it certainly has its points – especially when the Red stockings turn in a winner as they did last night."