Workers install the first set oflights April 26, 1988 | Sun-Times Media File
It’s somewhat appropriate that tomorrow, the Cubs and the Phillies will play a day game to close out their mid-week series. It was 25 years ago, on August 8, 1988, that the Phillies and Cubs played what should have been the first night game at Wrigley Field. After years of hand-wringing, the lights were installed and with much pomp and circumstance, the lights were flipped on and night baseball was played for the first ever. Except Mother Nature had other plans: the ominous skies that had grown darker over Wrigley Field opened up and a deluge soaked the field, halting the game in the fourth inning, thus washing away what should have been history. Instead, the first official Cubs night game at Wrigley happened the next night against the Mets, a game the Cubs won 6-4.
Today and tomorrow, we’ll be sharing some digs from the Sun-Times archive to commemorate the first nights game (or, rather, games) at Wrigley Field, including some old stories. We’ll start with the complaints from now-Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt about being part of history.
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Schmidt: Phils `guinea pigs’
By: Joe Goddard, August 6, 1988
Mike Schmidt, whose home run Friday helped rip Greg Maddux and the Cubs 9-3, thinks the Phillies may have been picked to be “guinea pigs” for the first Wrigley Field night game Monday.
The Phillies star said he’ll “act like I’m enjoying it” when he gets to the park, but questions the anticipated hype.
“To be honest, I have mixed emotions,” Schmidt told WGN’s Randy Minkoff. “I have to believe we were picked as guinea pigs. I don’t think they’d have picked us if we were contending. The Phillies are in last place and it’s a convenient night.
“I don’t know that they’d even try it this year if the Cubs were a contender.
“I’m not certain if I’m happy to be involved in this game or if it’s something I’d rather see from afar. But I’m a player and I’ll do my best to act like I’m enjoying it.
“Maybe Monday, I’ll say, `Hey, it’s Wrigley Field and it’s night.’ But over all, I don’t care about it at all.”
A Cubs spokesman denied the Phillies are guinea pigs.
“We play the (first-place) Mets the next night,” he said. “Are they guinea pigs, too?”