Quad Cities River Bandit’s owner Dave Heller gave a great summation of the history of baseball and beer when quizzed about light pollution coming from Modern Woodmen Park.
While being interviewed by the Quad City Times, Heller was asked about the constant illumination of several large neon beer signs. His defense included an impressive history of the longstanding relationship between the two pastimes:
“Beer and baseball have gone together since the founding of baseball. Indeed, beer was the first consumable to appear in a ballpark. The first ballpark in Brooklyn included a saloon in one of the outfield corners. The Yankees, owned by Col. Jacob Ruppert, a brewery owner himself, sold his Knickerbocker Beer at Yankee Stadium. Here in the Midwest, baseball was especially popular with Germans, who would often drink beer during games.
In 1930, the Brooklyn Dodgers installed the famous Schaefer Beer scoreboard on the right-field wall. The scoreboard featured letters that lit up to alert fans of umpires’ calls: the ‘h’ in Schaefer lit up for ‘hit’ and the ‘e’ lit up for ‘error.’ Other major league teams quickly followed suit, and today, one is hard-pressed to find any professional ballpark, major league or minor league, that does not feature beverage ads.”