Watch: Harry Caray gives Bill Murray a beer before first Wrigley Field night game
On Aug. 8, 1988, Wrigley Field finally joined the Baseball After Dark movement by hosting its first night game more than 50 years after the Reds started the revolution in 1935. To mark the 25th anniversary of the occasion, MLB.com put out the above video which was surely the most memorable part of the evening considering the game itself was rained out and wiped from the record books. Also notable: Murray being unconvinced about the whole idea of night baseball, Caray asking Murray if he ever considered a career in baseball broadcasting and Murray plugging Scrooged.
The celebratory mood in the TV booth was not indicative of what had been a long and contentious fight over the decision to add night games to Wrigley Field. The beloved ballpark had opened in 1914 and been home to the Cubs since 1916 but the team and local residents resisted for decades playing anything but day games. Both the Tribune Company, at the time the team’s relatively new owners, and Major League Baseball feared that the Cubs would be unable to keep up financially if they didn’t start having night games. The Cubs were limited to 18 night games a year through 2002 but now play 30 a season. That number will soon increase to 46.
As with many of the nights — and for that matter, the days — that followed at Wrigley Field the game itself was rather forgettable. The Cubs and Phillies were rained out in the fourth inning, so the official first game came the next night against the eventual NL East champion Mets. Chicago won that one 6-4 en route to a fourth-place finish.
The next year, though, the Cubs won 93 games and the NL East title. They then lost the NLCS to the Giants, and even hosted two night playoff games. Remarkably, the world kept on spinning.