CHICAGO — Whenever August 8 comes on the calendar, Cubs fans get a little nostalgic thanks to a major change that happened on that day at the Friendly Confines.
But in 2023, there is something just a little bit different about an important day in Wrigley Field history.
On August 8, 1988 (Or 8/8/88), the Cubs played for the first time at Wrigley Field under artificial light. From 1914 until the Sunday before, games at the Friendly Confines had only been played in the daytime.
That moment against the Philadelphia Phillies on a hot and humid evening – featuring a game-time temperature of 91 degrees – came after years of battles between the Cubs, the Lakeview neighborhood, the City of Chicago, and the State of Illinois.
Traditionalists hated to see it, but the economic realities of baseball made baseball under artificial light at Wrigley Field a reality.
It was a night that brought out dignitaries and celebrities with a host of former Cubs taking part in the pregame ceremonies, which were led by WGN legend Jack Brickhouse. Harry Grossman, a 91-year-old Cubs fan, had the honor of turning on the lights for the first time.
Fans know what happened after that, of course.
The Cubs would build a 3-1 lead after three-and-a-half innings, the rain arrived in droves, and the game was eventually postponed. That made the next night’s contest against the Mets on August 9, 1988, the first official night game in Wrigley Field history, which the Cubs won 6-4.
Since then, night baseball has been a staple of the experience at the ballpark, with an entire generation not even knowing what it’s like to only play during the day at Wrigley Field.
But on this August 8, unlike, the previous 34 anniversaries, there is something much different about the very lights that were turned on for the first time for a game.
This past offseason, the Cubs made the decision to replace the light fixtures that were installed initially in 1988.
In their place, the team put in energy-efficient LED lights at the top of the stadium, doing most of the work before the end of 2022. By doing so, the Cubs kept with one of the initial goals of the “1060 Project” remodeling project by reducing its electrical footprint.
Thanks to the new lights, the Cubs have added something new to the Wrigley Field experience. Should the team pick up a win, a light show takes place as the team and fans celebrate in the stands.
This includes a “W” forming in the lights as the display goes on.
It’s a new feature that makes this anniversary of a major moment at the Friendly Confines a little more unique in 2023.