Sunday, January 15, 2006

January 15th, 1942

Cubs Change Plans

One of baseball's great traditions--albeit one that is dying out to some extent--is of the day games at Wrigley Field. For many years, Wrigley had no lights and therefore, no night games. Lights were installed for the 1988 season but Cubs continue to play more day games than any other franchise. Common belief is that this was a particular decision, that the Cubs held out against lights as long as possible, but that's really only half true.

The Cubs didn't have lights in part because of an intentional decision, but in many ways the man responsible for the lack of lights at Wrigley was Hideki Tojo. Tojo was the Prime Minister of Japan during the Second World War period and the decision to attack
Pearl Harbor was ultimately with him. What does any of this have to do with the Cubs? As the date reveals, it was just over a month since the Pearl Harbor attacks when the Cubs made their titular change of plans. And what was that change? The Cubs' owner decided that rather than installing lights at Wrigley--as had been his plan--he would instead donate materials to the United States war effort.

Obviously the Cubs had chances in the time after 1945 and before 1988 to install lights and passed it up, but at the very beginning, mere chance and circumstance kept Wrigley from being yet another lit stadium.

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