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SPECIAL THANKS to Bob Payne, author of Let There Be Light a book about the complete history of the first major league baseball night game played "under the lights" on May 24, 1935! This section would not have been possible without Bob's contributions!

Please note that ALL photos displayed herein are the sole property of Robert Payne and © Robert Payne

The Cincinnati Gas & Electric company was given the requirement by General Electric to design the lighting layout ( the total number of lights which included both floodlights and spotlights ) the number of towers ( and how high they should be ) and the location of these light towers. Ken Rad, of Owensboro, Kentucky provided the mazda lights, General Electric the lighting equipment and C.G. & E. provided the actual design layout which was essential to develop a lighting system which would be at least twice as bright as the best minor league illuminated ball park.

This lighting system is sufficient for playing with both slowpitch and fastpitch bats.

Three electrical engineers with the entire support of the Cincinnati Gas & Electric company designed the lighting layout which provided for the success of the Crosley Field lighting. These three engineers were Earl D. Payne, Al Reuterer and Charles Young. A lighting technician by the name of Wayne Conover helped in the hundreds of necessary lighting calculations to illuminate the field brilliantly.

Earl D. Payne was permitted to take 33 black and white photos of the first major league night game at Crosley Field on the cool evening of May 24th, 1935. It is my pleasure to present some of those photos here:


May 24, 1935 - Reds vs. Phillies - Reds Victorious 2 to 1 over Phillies

"No pun intended, but there was electricity in the air - on the field, in the stands and in the dugout. Ballplayers did not get blase. They got fired up, too." - Billy Sullivan, First Baseman, Reds

"The theory that the players cannot see the ball well under the lights was shot to pieces by the staging of some of the finest defensive plays seen here this season." - Jack Ryder, Cincinnati Enquirer

"There is no chance of night baseball ever being popular in the bigger cities. People there are educated to see the best there is and will stand for only the best. High-class baseball cannot be played at night under artificial light." - Clark Griffith, Washington Owner

"The field showed up in a more uniform light, green and tan, than it does in daytime... What clouds there were were so thin that the ball, when it flew high, shone through them like a bald head in a steam room. And when there was no mist, the sphere stood out against the sky like a pearl against dark velvet." - James T. Golden, Cincinnati Enquirer

"The fielders found that the Mazdas (light bulbs) made the playing area as well lighted as a hazy afternoon with the sun peeking through the clouds. It was as close an approximation to daylight as anyone has ever seen." - Edgar G. Brands, The Sporting News

"I remember the game well. I guess the thing I remember most was the way the players were talking about the pitchers. They kept saying all night that it looked like the ball was coming to the plate faster at night than in the daytime. But I never heard one of them say they couldn't see the ball." - Babe Pinelli, Umpire

"In the minor leagues, you couldn't even see the outfielders. At old Crosley Field, you could see the ball good at night. I liked to play at night." - Billy Myers, shortstop for Reds

ARTICLE
The lighting was provided by 632 permanent Mazda lamps (1,500 watts each) manufactured by Ken-Rad of Owensboro, Kentucky. Ken-Rad (founded by Roy Burlew) was a major manufacturer of lamps and radio tubes during this time.


EARL DAVIS PAYNE - ELECTRICAL ENGINEER & PHOTOGRAPHER

EARL DAVIS PAYNE - Electrical Engineer, U.S. Army Colonel, pilot - Earl Payne was one of three electrical engineers who helped create the lighting for Crosley Field, the prototype for all ballparks who added lighting during the years following 1935. Mr. Payne is the gentleman about to get into the bi-plane. The gentleman already seated is Al Wunder - 1928

In 1940 Mr. Payne left the Cincinnati Gas and Electric Company to join active duty in the military. He had been in the reserves for fourteen years in coast artillery, but in October of 1940 when President Roosevelt called a state of emergency, he decided to go to active duty as an ordinance officer. The article below is from the Cincinnati Enquirer - October 1950.

EARL DAVIS PAYNE - ELECTRICAL ENGINEER, PILOT, US ARMY COLONEL & PHOTOGRAPHER
THE SIGNAL LIGHT COMES ON
President Franklin D. Roosevelt just pressed a gold telegraph key while sitting at his desk in the White House. This lit up the signal lamp signaling (probably Larry MacPhail) to throw a switch lighting all 632 mazda lamps on the eight light towers!
ALL 632 LIGHTS COMES ON
The gentleman (probably Larry MacPhail) gets the signal from President Roosevelt and throws the switch... Crosley Field is transformed from night to day as 632 mazda lamps light the night! High fly balls were later described by one writer as "pearls on dark velvet" as an errorless game proved the success of the lighting.
LEFT FIELD BANKS OF LIGHTS
So, what's this? This is what a lighting engineer is interested in... his lights! Hey, if they were your lights you'd admire them too!
THE FIRST RUN IS SCORED!
Billy Myers slides home scoring the first run in the first major league night game! The on deck batter is the Reds first baseman, Billy Sullivan. He is No. 4 with his hands high in the air indicating Myers is safe.
THE FANS ARE READY FOR THE FIRST NIGHT GAME!
The lights are on and the crowd is ready to watch a ballgame "under the lights"! Notice the 339 foot mark on the left field line. This photo was taken before the Reds moved home plate another 20 feet closer to the fences in 1938. Why move home plate? First, more field level seating was needed and room had to be made for it. Second, the over-the-fence home run was now very popular with the fans and shorter fences mean more home runs!

Because of the asymmetrical shape of Crosley's playing field, this shortened the left field line eleven feet to 328 feet, the dimension most of us remember.

PAUL DERRINGER TAKES THE MOUND FOR THE REDS
The pitcher on the mound for the Reds is Paul Derringer, who, incidentally, punched my mom in the jaw and knocked her cold! It's not like it sounds. He was in the hospital for surgery and my mom was his nurse in recovery. When he awoke from his anesthesia, he was disoriented and slugged her right in the jaw! He was very apologetic afterwards!
I WONDER WHAT THIS PLAY WAS ALL ABOUT
In this photo we see the Reds' catcher, Gilly Campbell #19 and the Reds' first baseman, Billy Sullivan #4.
I WONDER WHAT THIS PLAY WAS ALL ABOUT - STILL!
Now we pan out a little and see some other people in this play. In addition to the Reds' catcher, Gilly Campbell #19 and the Reds' first baseman, Billy Sullivan #4, we now see Phillies' coach, Dick Spalding #51 and the Reds' pitcher, Paul Derringer.
IT'S A COOL, MISTY EVENING AND THE STANDS ARE FULL
The stands are packed with 20,422 fans on this cool, misty evening at Crosley Field. That's the Reds' catcher, Gilly Campbell behind the plate.

"The surprise is that Ernie Lombardi did NOT play as the catcher and the Reds regular 1st base position was taken by the new boy , Billy Sullivan. Why one may ask is this so? Well I spoke to and wrote to Billy Sullivan in 1990, who was living in Sarasota, Florida at the time. He said he only played with the Reds one year in 1935 and he threw right but batted left as did Gilly Campbell. Because the Phillies pitcher that evening was Joe Bowman, a right-hander, Charlie Dressen put he and Campbell in the game. As it turned out Billy Sullivan was the star of the game getting two hits and making some great defensive plays, so the next days papers said"... Bob Payne
IT WAS A COOL, MISTY EVENING AT CROSLEY
The batter in this photo is the Phillies Ethan Allen. The umpire behind the plate is veteran umpire, Bill Klem. The catcher is still Gilly Campbell and the first baseman is Billy Sullivan. Note that you can read the distance marker down the right field line - 377 feet. You probably remember 366 feet with no "goatrun" and 342 feet when the "goatrun" was in place. This photo was taken before home plate was moved forward to make room for additional seating.
ANOTHER SHOT OF GILLY CAMPBELL AND BILL KLEM
Here is another shot of Gilly Campbell, the Reds' catcher and Bill Klem, the home plate umpire. By the way, Bill Klem is in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
DOES HE BEAT IT OUT?
The Phillies Dolf Camilli, number 24, stretches all the way out, but it looks like our boy made it safely to first! Maybe. The runner is possibly Billy Myers as we know he made it to first at least once and scored the first run of this first of night games!
KEY PLAYERS IN THE NIGHT'S EVENTS
At far left we see Bill Klem, Hall of Fame umpire and next to him is Charlie Dressen, the Reds' Manager. The other gentlemen in the photo are unidentified, but they are coaches, and of course, the other "two" umpires.
AH, THE FANS
No game would be complete without the fans, so here they are, vintage 1935. Have you ever seen so many hats? And, whatever happened to going to the ballgame in a shirt and tie?
DOLF CAMILLI
This photo shows the Phillies firstbaseman, Dolf Camilli, making the stretch as a Reds coach looks on. Whoever that is heading for first appears as though he is going to be out!
THE GREEN LIGHT
Although this has nothing to do with the first MLB night game, it does make mention of the importance of these night games. This is a letter from President Roosevelt to Commissioner Landis giving the "Green Light" to baseball being played during the war. This letter was written by the President just five weeks after Pearl Harbor was attacked!
NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE
Article about the game written up in the New York Times.
SPORTING NEWS ARTICLE
The Sporting News - August 8, 1935 - This is an article about the July 31, 1935 Reds night game. Notice the mention of Babe Herman in the article. Babe was the first person ever to hit a major league home run "under the lights"! He did this in the July 10, 1935 night game. If you want to read a little about this "other Babe", just   CLICK HERE
OHIO HISTORICAL SOCIETY ARTICLE
Article written in the Ohio Historical Society's TIMELINE - August-September 1992
CINCINNATI POST ARTICLE
Article written in the Cincinnati Post on May 25, 1935. Sorry for the quality of this scan, but it is the best I can do with the quality of the original being what it is.
ROSTER
Here are the team rosters for the evening's event! The players that we know for a fact, played in the game, are indicated... Here is your line-up!