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A Day In Wrigley Field History: June 19, 1955

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You'd think, at a certain point, they'd have thought about putting lights in.

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

In the 1950s, when lights at baseball stadiums were still a fairly new (20 years or less) item, teams didn't play many night games -- usually 20 or less per year -- and often, lights weren't even used to complete games begun in sunshine.

By 1955, though, it was seven years since the last team besides the Cubs (Detroit Tigers) had installed lights, and you'd have thought that maybe P.K. Wrigley would have begun to consider doing this after yet another doubleheader second game was halted due to darkness. Again, in 1955 all games began at 1:30, so the Cubs' 1-0 first-game loss to the Phillies in 15 innings ended at almost 5:30, after three hours and 54 minutes of likely not-scintillating baseball. Edward Prell has more in his Tribune recap:

The Cubs took the short end of a long ball game and the long end of a short one yesterday afternoon, twilight and evening. The long one, the first, progressed through 14 scoreless innings before the Phillies scored in the 15th for a 1 to 0 victory.

Then, at precisely 7:45 p.m. and darkness settling over Wrigley field reminiscent of the September afternoon in 1938 when Gabby Hartnett hit a home run to send the Cubs toward a pennant, the umpires called a halt after the Phils had made a vigorous bid in their half of the seventh. The three runs they scored on Del Ennis' homer was just short of a tie and the Cubs gratefully accepted an 8 to 7 decision.

By this time only a few thousand remained of the 34,529 who had watched two pitchers on each club wage the longest scoreless battle of the National league season.

That first game must have been a snoozefest. Combined, the two teams got a runner to scoring position only 11 times in the first 14 innings.

Again, I find myself wondering after reading recaps like this, why no one thought of suspending games like this, instead of simply calling them. With just seven other teams in the league at the time, all of them made multiple trips to each city; the Phillies had three more trips to Wrigley Field that year. This doubleheader happened to be a scheduled one, as the Sunday doubleheader became common, and did accomplish its mission, which was getting more bodies in the seats. The theory was "two games for the price of one" would attract larger crowds. In general, that worked in that era. The day before, the Cubs had drawn 16,543 for a single game, and doubled that for the Sunday doubleheader. This was the general pattern for most teams.

It would be 14 more years before the National League would agree to suspend games for darkness at Wrigley Field.