Heedless of the dangers of an overdose of twilight and night baseball, major league club owners are rapidly breaking away from the time-honored tradition that baseball is a day-time sport. Eager to boost war-time gate receipts, and without looking ahead to the future, the magnates are forgetting the conditions under which the game grew to great popularity. They have turned deaf ears to warnings of experienced observers and blind eyes to the example set by the minor leagues.Fenway Park did not have lights until 1947. Of the 16 major league teams, the Red Sox were the third-to-last team to succumb to "the evils of the night game".
There is no doubt that baseball, in its experimentation with early evening and night games, is treading on a "hot" spot that may eventually result in its disintegration. For years, the major league owners fought against the creeping progress of night ball, but their defense now has utterly collapsed. ...
The majors should have learned from the minors all about the evils of the night game. Undoubtedly, during the depression, the arc lights kept many of the lower leagues alive. The novelty of it was a strong gate attraction. However the minors did just what the majors are now doing, added to their night schedules until, in many cities, all but Sunday games were played under lights. It worked for a while, but the "circus glitter" faded -- and so did the attendance. ...
Several of the cities have worked out their own plans. Cleveland, for instance, starts all week-day games at 4 P.M. in the hope of luring early-shift defense workers through the turnstiles. So far, it has not proved successful. ... Detroit's venture has been a little more fruitful. The Tigers starts at the usual time all except one day a week, Wednesday, when the bell rings at 5 P.M. This seems to be the best method of handling the problem.
Of course it all is still in the experimental stage. But the trend is a definite one as well as dangerous one. Apparently the baseball people aren't content to experiment in small quantities but must plunge the whole hog. By the time they read the danger sign it may be too late to turn back.
May 6, 2010
Owners Ignore Warnings, Plan More Sunless Ball
Jack Smith, New York Daily News, August 9, 1942:
by allan at 1:25 PM