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)
The Boosters would get into a 3-way race for 1st place in 1918 but it was all for naught. World War I finally struck hard and by July 7th the Western League suspended operations with the Boosters in 3rd place with a 36-31 record. They wouldn't resume play until the following season as Paul Musser returned to go 17-12 but lead the league in strikeouts with 212. Sadly he would be traded to Wichita midseason and he would go on to have yet another 20 win season there in 1920. The Boosters would still finish with a 71-67 record in 4th place, but with Musser now gone, the team quickly sunk to 58-93 for the 1920 season. It was their first season at Holcomb Park without at least a .500 record as E. Fletcher put up an 11-23 record and 2 others finished with 18 losses. Future Chicago White Sox' Ray French, who set a new record for triples (31 2B, 10 3B, 4 HR, .267) was the only positive note on this team. Little good would happen to Des Moines over the next few seasons as the Boosters finished with 92 losses in 1921 and finally reached bottom in 1922 with a horrible 61-107 record despite excellent seasons by future Yankee Shags Horan who tied Tex Jones' all time records in doubles and average hitting .320 with 47 2B, 7 3B and 16 HR and Arthur Wagner breaking that batting title with a 41 2B, 11 3Bs, 8 HRs and a .326 while also setting the mark for triples. Future Red Sox' Guy Cooper nearly blew all of them away by batting .386 but he was promoted after only 202 At Bats and did not qualify.  The 107 losses were certainly a miserable finish but it was obviously that this team had everything they needed to turn this around and succeed in the near future.