This week, we’re celebrating the 25th anniversary of the first night game at Wrigley Field. Below are two pairs of stories from our archives during the lead-up to that historic event.
Cubs night game to light up Grant Pk. TV
By Sun-Times Staff, August 6, 1988
Cubs fans who can’t get one of the 13,000 tickets for Monday night’s first night game at Wrigley Field can do the next best thing: watch the game on a giant screen at Grant Park’s Petrillo Music Shell.
They can see history in the making while being entertained by comedian Tom Dreesen and participating in giveaways, including a pair of tickets to the game.
The ticket winner and a friend will be driven to Wrigley Field in a limousine in time to see the first pitch, while the rest of the crowd watches the game on a 15-by-17-foot screen.
“Obviously there will be a lot of bars and taverns in Chicago with the game on TV, but this is a chance to see it in a unique way,” said David Paro, a spokesman for Budweiser, a sponsor of the event. “It will almost be like watching a real baseball game.
Also sponsoring the event will be Fencl-Tufo Chevy City, WGN-Channel 9 and the Chicago Park District.
Activities will begin at 4:30 p.m., and onlookers also will have a chance to win a trip to Jamaica and commemorative items.
“We will be showing videos before the game, including baseball blooper videos,” Paro said.
* * * * * * *
172 cops set for Wrigley night game
By: Fran Spielman, August 6, 1988
Mayor Sawyer Thursday assigned 172 police officers and 15 tow trucks to enforce order during Monday’s historic first night game at Wrigley Field and urged those without tickets to stay home.
Police Supt. LeRoy Martin said the decision to assign more than four times the regular police complement for Cubs games is aimed at sending a message to fans and Wrigleyville residents that “hooliganism and vandalism” will not be tolerated.
Manpower assigned to the area probably will be “scaled back” and “leveled out to normal” after Monday night, Martin said. Anti-lights activists have expressed concern that the city may scale back its commitment to the area once the national spotlight is off.
Meanwhile, Wrigleyville resident William E. Kipnis said he has obtained more than enough signatures to retaliate against the Cubs by placing on the ballot a referendum voting dry the precinct that includes the ballpark.
Kipnis said he’ll assess the city’s performance during the seven night games this season and the Cubs’ willingness to make additional concessions before deciding whether to file petitions placing the measure on the April ballot.
Additional concessions sought by Wrigleyville neighbors include an 11 p.m. curfew for night games; a permanent promise of only 18 night games per season; a cutoff of beer sales after the third inning, and a guarantee of police manpower and tow trucks to enforce order during
night games, Kipnis said.
Policy changes also will be sought from owners of an unidentified bar in the precinct whose rowdy crowds are notorious for harassing neighbors, he said.
“If we can get some of the things we want, we’d be more than happy to hold the petitions or even throw them away,” Kipnis said.
Kipnis said the Cubs’ promise to cut off beer sales after the 7th inning is a token gesture: “Anybody who can’t get absolutely polluted by then didn’t go to the ballpark with enough money.”
Cubs Chairman John W. Madigan virtually ruled out further concessions after attending a City Hall news conference called to outline the city’s plan to combat problems Monday night. National League President A. Bartlett Giamatti has expressly forbidden game curfews, team officials said.
Sawyer said he is confident the city’s plan to combat problems associated with night baseball will work, provided curiosity seekers and fans searching for scalped tickets stay away from Wrigleyville Monday night.
“If you don’t have a ticket . . . don’t come,” the mayor said. “There’ll be no place to park and no tickets available. If you do have a ticket, use public transportation or park and ride. And treat it like your own neighborhood.”
The city’s plan calls for a residential permit parking zone in the area bounded by Irving Park, Belmont, Ashland and Lake Shore Drive. An estimated 7,000 permits have been issued to residents with valid city vehicle stickers.
Fifteen city tow trucks will remove illegally parked cars to a lot at Belmont and Greenview, where they can be retrieved for $105 – up from the previous $50, officials said. For a $5 fee, the CTA will provide shuttle bus service to remote lots adjacent to Lane Technical High School and DeVry Institute. The lots have space for 1,200 vehicles.