Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » April 2005 » Great days in Baseball History:

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04/18/2005: Great days in Baseball History:

Via the National Baseball Hall of Fame's "Inside Pitch" email newsletter, we are reminded that today is the 24th anniversary of the longest professional baseball game (measured both by innings played and (it appears) by clock time) in history:

** Oh, What A Night!
When the April 18, 1981, Triple-A game between the Rochester Red Wings and the Pawtucket Red Sox began 30 minutes late after an electrical problem affected the lights, it appeared that both teams would be in for a long evening.

Eight hours, seven minutes, 33 innings, and two months later, the game finally concluded at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. 2005 Hall of Fame electee Wade Boggs was among the players on the field that night. He played third base for Pawtucket throughout all 32 innings. At 4:07 a.m., the game was halted after International League president, Harold Cooper, called the stadium to inform the umpires of a rule prohibiting the start of a new inning after 12:50am. The rule, of course, had been omitted from the umpires’ handbooks.

Extra innings began after Pawtucket tied the game 1-1 on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 9th. Boggs later saved a run for Pawtucket in the 11th when he stopped a liner off the bat of Cal Ripken Jr. and recorded the out at second base. The game remained tied at one until the top of the 21st, when Rochester scored on a double by Mike Hart. Boggs drove in Pawtucket’s second, and final, run of the night in the bottom of the 21st, tying the game, 2-2. Boggs went 4-for-12 that evening. After 32 innings, the clubs combined for 213 total at-bats and over 13 dozen balls used. A total of 49 runners had been left on base.

The game resumed over two months later, on June 23. That night it only took only 18 minutes to declare a winner. The Pawtucket Red Sox loaded the bases in the bottom of the 33rd and scored on Dave Koza’s single to left field, defeating Rochester, 3-2, in 33 innings. Once finished, the game lasted three innings longer than any other recorded professional game and six innings longer than any major league game.
Since someone will bring the question up (yes, you and I are both trying to avoid useful work), there are several "longest game" records for major league play, measuring by either clock time or by number of innings played. Going by clock time, the longest MLB game ever played was played on May 9, 1984, when the Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers batled to a 7-6 White Sox win in a 25 inning game lasting 8 hours, 6 minutes (just a minute short of the PawSox-Red Wings record in clock time). Going by number of innings played, the longest MLB game is is a 1-1 tie between the Brooklyn Robins (as the Dodgers franchise was then known, in honor of the Brooklyn manager, the legendary Wilbert Robinson) and the Boston Braves that was played on May 1, 1920. That game took 26 innings for the teams to battle to their non-decision. For what it's worth (i.e., for those of you who think that letting a baseball game end in a tie somehow disrupts the very fabric of the space-time continuum), the longest MLB games (in innings) to be played to a decision are the aforementioned Chicago-Milwaukee game and a September 11, 1974 marathon in which the St. Louis Cardinals beat the New York Mets, 4-3 at Shea Stadium. Both these games took 25 innings to play to completion.

And as long as I'm on the subject.... I'm fascinated by these records: the shortest clock time it's taken to complete a doubleheader (two 9-inning games) was 2 hours and 7 minutes on September 26, 1926, when the New York Yankees met the St. Louis Browns at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. Game 2 of that match set the American League record for shortest 9-inning game; it was completed in 55 minutes. That isn't the shortest 9-inning game in MLB history though, that honor goes to a September 28, 1919 matchup between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Phillies at the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia. That day, it took the Giants only 51 minutes to put down the Phillies, 6-1.

Len on 04.18.05 @ 09:06 AM CST

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