How Electric Companies Changed the Sport of Baseball
October 2019
Every fall, baseball fans look forward to the World Series. This year, the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros are competing for the Commissioner’s Trophy. As we cheer on our favorite teams, we remember that partnerships between electric companies and baseball teams forever changed the way fans enjoy the World Series and America’s favorite pastime. 

For many years, baseball games were played during the day, and had to be wrapped before dark. It wasn’t until 1935 that electricity was used to light up a Major League Baseball (MLB) stadium for a night game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Philadelphia Phillies at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, Ohio. While fans now watch the dramatic final games under the lights, the World Series didn’t even start having night games until 1977.

Now, every MLB team has lights in its stadium to ensure fans can enjoy watching their favorite teams well into the night.

Before the days of the MLB, electricity was the main attraction for the first baseball game ever played at night in 1880. That game at Nantasket Bay was between teams composed of two major Boston department store employees. The Northern Electric Light Company of Boston featured a dazzling light display to demonstrate the feasibility of illuminating large areas, such as baseball stadiums. The Boston Post reported that “when the lamps were lighted after dark the effect was fine. A clear, pure bright light was produced, very strong and yet very pleasant to the sight.”