Cubs and day/night, split/joint doubleheaders

After reading my post about how the Cubs have fared in doubleheaders, frequent commenter Ernaga wrote, in part:

"I'm just guessing here, but it seems the Cubs' record has been especially bad in the Day-Night double-admission 'doubleheaders' of recent decades. Perhaps some Cubs in recent decades have lost focus, either by wearing themselves out in the weight room or at the clubhouse buffet during the long hours between games."

That sent me back to the Cubs' year-by-year results, to look at when they played doubleheaders, and whether the second game came immediately after the first, at not extra charge, or whether fans had to leave the park and buy another ticket to see the rematch.



Since the start of 1988, the first year when the Cubs could play night games at home, they have played twice on the same day 87 times: 60 at home, 27 on the road.

42 doubleheaders are recorded as day/night: 28 at home, 14 on the road.

From 1988 through 2008, only 11 of 54 doubleheaders were day/night: 6 at home, 5 on the road.

From 2009 through 2020, 31 of 33 doubleheaders have been day/night: 22 at home, 9 on the road. The only 2 that were not were 2 games at night, 1 at Philadelphia and 1 at Washington.

The Cubs have not played 2 day games since Aug. 3, 2006, at home against the Diamondbacks. Their most recent doubleheader, on July 16, was their 25th since then.



Of all 87 doubleheaders since 1988, 36 were day/day (31 home, 5 road), 42 were day/night (28 home, 14 road) and 9 were night/night (1 home, 8 road).

How have the Cubs fared in those doubleheaders?


Home: 25-37, .403

Road: 2- 8, .200


Home: 19-37, .339

Road: 11-17, .393


Home: 1-1, .500

Road: 7-9, .438


That adds up to:

Day/day: 27-45, .375

Day/night: 30-54, .357

Night/night: 8-10, .444

TOTAL: 65-109, .374


So, the Cubs have been less successful at home in day/night doubleheaders than in day/day doubleheaders, but more successful on the road in day/day than in day/night.

Overall, they have been slightly more successful in day/day doubleheaders.

Had they lost 1 more game in day/day pairs, their percentage would have .361, compared to .357 in day/night.

Had they won 2 more games in day/night pairs, their percentage would have been .381, compared to .375 in day/day.



But not all of the Cubs' day/night doubleheaders were split-admission doubleheaders.

Since 1988, they have played 30 split doubleheaders, 21 at home and 9 on the road. They have played 57 joint doubleheaders, 39 at home and 18 on the road.

How have they fared?


Home: 14-28, .333

Road: 7-11, .389


Home: 31-47, .397

Road: 13-23, .361


That adds up to:

Split: 21-39, .350

Joint: 44-70, .386


So, the Cubs have been much less successful in split doubleheaders at home than in joint ones, -64 percentage points, but more successful in splits than in joints on the road, +28 points.

Overall, they have been less successful in splits, -36 points.

Just 2 more wins in splits would have made their percentage .383, nearly the same as in joints.

Four more losses in the joints would have made their percentage .351, nearly the same as in the splits.


By the way, in all 87 doubleheaders, the Cubs are 45-75, .375, at home and 20-34, .370, on the road.



The Cubs played their first night at Cincinnati on July 1, 1935, earning an 8-4 victory over the Reds.

It was just the third big league game ever played under the lights, all at Crosley Field. The first had been May 24, with the Phillies as the Reds' opponent; the second, a week later, featured the Pirates.

The Cubs played a lone night game each of the next 2 years, also at Cincinnati.

In 1939, they played after the sun went down at Brooklyn, Cincinnati and Philadelphia.

In 1940, they did so at 6 cities, all but Boston.


Their number of night games grew to 10 by 1942, then to 18 by 1944.

The Cubs played 16 of them in 1945, including their first doubleheader under the lights: an 8-1, 3-0 sweep on June 15 at Cincinnati, in which the first game began at 5:59 p.m.

They played another pair of night games at Philadelphia on July 6, then did it a third time at Cincinnati on Aug. 3, this time starting at 6:32 p.m.



The Cubs did not play their first split doubleheader, with separate admissions, until the final week of 1947, on Monday, Sept. 22.

It came at St. Louis, where the teams had met under the lights on Friday and Saturday, with the Cardinals winning both games.

"The Cubs and Cardinals, who spent the last two evenings grubbing for dimes, thought they were going to enjoy the novelty of daylight baseball this afternoon," Irving Vaughan of the Chicago Tribune wrote on Sunday, "but the weather man fixed that by sousing the town with a large sized rain.

"What's going to happen now? Well, the local club has made delightful arrangements to offset today's washout. It will be staged tomorrow afternoon at 1:30 and the night game, as originally scheduled, will be run off at 8:15 p.m."


Vaughan then filed this on Monday:

"The Cubs came up tonight with the march that carried off the world champion Cardinals and left the Brooklyn Bums to work out their problems with the Yankees in the World Series.

"The Chicagoans were knocked off in an afternoon game, devised by the local management, but after the lights were turned on, the Chicagos went to work more impressively.

"They finished the Cards, who knew long before this that it was only a matter of hours. The funeral count was 6 to 3.

"The afternoon's count was 4 to 2, and the two games drew a grand total of 10,121 customers, of which 1,940 showed up at the afternoon game."

The night time loss clinched the pennant for the Dodgers, leaving them 7 1/2 games in front of the second-place Cardinals, who had only 7 games left to play.



The Cubs' first attempt to host a game after dark was on Monday, Aug. 8, 1988, against the Phillies. Memorably, it was washed out in the fourth inning. The next night, they beat the Mets, 6-4.

The Cubs then played back-to-back night games Aug. 22-23, both against the Astros, and Sept. 6-7, against the Phillies and Mets.

When a game game against the Expos was prevented by rain on Monday, Sept. 20, it was made up starting at 3 p.m. the next day, followed by the scheduled night game, making it "Wrigley Field's first almost twi-night doubleheader," as Alan Solomon put it in the Tribune.

"Despite the historic significance of the event, members of the Chicago Symphony will not be there to play both national anthems, and thousands of tickets are available."

The games on Sept. 21 went into the record books as day and night.



The Cubs did not play another day/night doubleheader at home until July 10, 1993, against the the Astros.

Like the one in 1988, it featured 2 games for the price of 1, with the first getting under way at 4:07 p.m.

There were similar doubleheaders against the Rockies in 1997 and the Reds in 1999.

On May 21, 2002, the Cubs and Pirates made up a rainout the previous day by playing twice, with Game 1 starting at 4:05 p.m. For some reason, that is recorded as a night game, which it clearly was not.



The Cubs' inaugural split day/night doubleheader at home took place on Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2003, as part of a 5-game series against the Cardinals.

The first game began at 1:10 p.m. and did not end until Sammy Sosa slugged a 2-run homer with 1 out in the 15th inning.

That game drew a crowd of 31,990. There were 39,290 on hand for the second game, which the record book says started at 5:30 -- an impossibility, given that the first game wasn't over until 5:57!


Over the next 5 seasons, the Cubs played just 3 doubleheaders, all on the road.

On Sunday, July 12, 2009, they beat the Cardinals, 7-3, in the afternoon, then lost to them, 2-4, at night. Attendance was 40,701, then 41,244.

Beginning that day, the Cubs have played 22 doubleheaders at Wrigley Field.

Only 3 were not split: the ones played in 2020, during the pandemic, when there were no tickets to be sold.

The starting times of those back-to-back games, all against the Cardinals, were:

4:15 and 7:05 (Aug. 17)

1:20 and 5:07 (Aug. 19)

4:15 and 7:50 (Sept. 5)

The Cubs also played a doubleheader at Cincinnati on Aug. 29. Those games began at 4:10 and 7:46.

The Cubs divided each pair of games at home. They lost both games on the road.

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