Briggs Stadium, Detroit, MI, June 15, 1948 – Lights are finally on as Detroit becomes last AL team to host night games

Briggs Stadium, Detroit, MI, June 15, 1948 – Lights are finally on as Detroit becomes last AL team to host night games

The lights are finally on at Detroit’s Briggs Stadium for the first time as team owner Walter Briggs finally relents on his stand of no night games.

Being a traditionalist, Briggs felt baseball shouldn’t be played at night, as a result the Tigers were the last American League team to have all their games played during the day. But after seeing the success night games were having across the league, Briggs finally gave the green light for eight towers to be installed.

As for the game itself, 54,480 were on hand to see the Tigers beat the Philadelphia Athletics 4-1, highlighted by two Detroit home runs in the 8th inning by Dick Wakefield and Pat Mullin, both coming off A’s pitcher Joe Coleman. Tigers pitcher Hal Newhouser went the distance for the complete game win giving up only two hits and improving his season record to 8-4.

A little side note, while this was the first MLB game played at night in Detroit, this was not the first night baseball game played in the Motor City. That distinction took place 52 years earlier on September 24, 1896 at Bennett Park. After the 1896 season ended, the Tigers, at the time a Western League team, played an exhibition games against the NL Cincinnati Reds as a send off for the fans and to put a little extra something in the pockets of the players heading into the off season. As the game was heading into the night time, a break was taken so to allow lineman to put up temporary lights so the game could finish. And to help the players with the sub-par lighting, they switched from a baseball to a softball.

And “night baseball” was unofficially introduced to the city of Detroit.

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