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To Get Lights, Will Cubs Stay Put?

February 27, 1988

The Chicago City Council wants to lift the 72-year ban on night games at Wrigley Field, but Mayor Eugene Sawyer said Friday he won't sign the ordinance unless the Chicago Cubs agree to stick around for 14 years of lights.

"I am convinced they will sign," Sawyer said of an agreement to keep the National League team in Chicago through 2002, the period covered by the ordinance. "I heard from them last evening."

The City Council approved Sawyer's plan to allow eight night games this year and 18 each subsequent year until 2002, but the mayor said, "We won't sign . . . unless we get a commitment from the Cubs that they will stay."

Wrigley Field has been the only major league baseball field without lights for 40 years. The last team to opt for night games was the Detroit Tigers in 1948.

The City Council voted Thursday to allow lights at Wrigley Field after 2 1/2 hours of impassioned debate.

The Tribune Co., owner of the Cubs, had long argued in favor of lights at Wrigley Field, saying the club lost out on revenue from televised night games.

The Cubs said a $5-million lighting system should be ready in four to six months. The ordinance says the first night game must be played after July 1.

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