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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Night games in New York during World War Two?

For those enslaved by illiterate texting by thumb while walking and/or driving, the United States entered World War II (Roman numeral 2) in December 1941, so its first full year of participation was 1942. The war ended in the summer of 1945. The primary enemies were Germany and Japan.

Recently I engaged in a series of private messages with friends over whether night baseball games were played in the U.S. during the war. Misinformation abounded. The article below is an example of a source that is contradicted by the facts that follow it in this post.

City Room

Answers About World War II in New York, Part III
By THE NEW YORK TIMES OCTOBER 4, 2010 4:14 PM October 4, 2010 4:14 pm

Richard Goldstein, an author and historian of the Second World War who was our guest expert on City Room last week, provided the following third and final batch of answers to readers’ questions about all aspects of New York and the war...

Q. I’m interested in the blackout. Or whether or not there was a blackout.

A. ... there were fears that German bombers might appear overhead.

In spring 1942, the Army determined that the glow from New York City’s lights was silhouetting ships offshore, making them easy targets for German submarines that had sunk scores of oil tankers and freighters bound for Britain.

Under an Army-ordered “dimout” — less severe than a blackout — the brilliant neon advertising signs in Times Square went dark...

Night baseball was banned in the war’s early years at the Dodgers’ Ebbets Field and the Giants’ Polo Grounds. (Yankee Stadium did not yet have lights.) The Statue of Liberty’s torch did not glow.


Night games in New York City and Washington, DC 1938-1947:

Source: baseball-reference.com


U.S. in WWII

In the first year of U.S. participation in WWII night games in Ebbets Field in Brooklyn almost doubled as did those on the road. The Giants also continued to play home night games in 1942 but seemed to have unilaterally stopped in 1943 but that same year they played more road night games than in any previous year. The Yankees did not add lights to the Stadium until the 1946 season.

The other east coast city that would have been a logical target was Washington DC. Through 1960 Washington had an American League team generally known as the Senators. The Senators reduced their 1942 night games to three but by 1944 had greatly increased that number.

The bottom line is that the only elimination or even substantive reduction of night games in New York City during WWII was in 1943, year two of the war for the U.S., when the Giants played no home night games.

Yet there was a prevalent understanding for some that night games had been banned. Why?

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