First Night Game in Baseball History

Holcomb Park

Des Moines Iowa

Former home of the Des Moines Demons
Des Moines Boosters
(Western League)

Photographs of the 1st night game in baseball history
appear courtesy of
Chris Hunter of the
Schenectady Museum and
Science Center
from the G.E. Collection of Historic Photographs

(special thanks to Stephen L.J. Russo)
By 1928, Sam Langford's exploits could no longer be ignored and he was promoted to the Cleveland Indians. Utility player and future Boston Red Sox' Al Van Camp took over as the new leader on the team putting up 31 2B, 19 3B, 15 HR and a .351. Patrick Reagan (40 2B, 18 3B, 12 HR, .323) and John Zaepfel (41 2B, 16 3B, 9 HR, .325) provided a good 3-some in the lineup but the pitching was horrible and the team sunk to 98 losses. The Demons stayed near last place for 1929 despite a good year by Joe Circle (25 2B, 26 HR, .288) and future Philadelphia A's' Jim Oglesby (39 2B, 14 3B, 10 HR, .312) again because of the lack of pitching including Ted Pillette's 7-20 performance. During the off season, the Western League began talks with the Des Moines Demons about General Electric's newly developed lighting for professional sports arenas and the Demons met with GE to devise a plan to place lighting stanchions around Holcomb Park for the 1930 season. All went according to plan and on May 2nd, the first every professional baseball game (as seen in the photograph above) took place here at Holcomb Park in front of a crowd of 12,000 fans, who came to see the new technological marvel. The new lighting costs the team more than 5 times what it had spent on building the ballpark as General Electric's bill for the installment came in at $22,000. (That's a lot of money for 1930).