The Yellow Ball Experiment

On August 2, 1938, the Brooklyn Dodgers played a double header at home at Ebbets Field, their opponent was the St. Louis Cardinals. There was something particularly odd about the first game. The ball was covered in yellow die.

The thought was that dying the ball yellow would improve the player’s ability to see it during night games. Dodgers’ president Larry MacPhail was credited with the original idea. Freddie Fitzsimmons was the starter for the Dodgers and Curt Davis for the Cardinals.  New York Daily News reporter Hy Turkin reported that neither of the pitchers were enthusiastic about the new ball.

The Dodgers took both games in the double header. The first game was a 6-2 victory, and game two granted the team a 9-3 win. Nothing particularly special or eventful happened during either game except the experimental use of the yellow ball in game one.

This was the only game to experiment with the use of a bright yellow ball in the major leagues. Today lights are used to make night ball easier on players as well as the fans.


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