The Longest Game in MLB History
If you went to bed early Sunday night, you missed a lot of baseball. ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball broadcast went on into Monday morning as the Yankees defeated the Cubs 5-4 in a six-hour, 18 inning marathon at Wrigley Field. The two teams combined to use 42 players and set an MLB record by striking out a combined 48 times in their 128 at bats. The game ended at 1:14 AM Central time and, adding insult to injury, it was a getaway day for both teams: The Yankees open a series in Cincinnati tonight while the Cubs head out to Denver.
It seems unlikely that any members of the 1984 Brewers were still awake at the end of this game, but if they were they could have held a small celebration: Their record for the longest game in MLB history, set 33 years ago today, still stands this morning.
On May 8, 1984, the Brewers and White Sox went into the eighth inning tied 1-1 at Comiskey Park following strong pitching outings from Milwaukee starter Don Sutton (seven innings) and White Sox southpaw Bob Fallon (six innings), neither of whom would have the game’s longest outing. The Brewers broke through with two in the top of the ninth, as Robin Yount came home on an error and Ben Oglivie singled home Ted Simmons. The lead was short-lived, however, as the White Sox scored two off of Rollie Fingers in the bottom of the inning to send the game to extras.
At that point both teams were done scoring runs for the day: They played eight more innings before reaching the American League’s curfew in the top of the 18th. The game was suspended for the night and would resume the next day, when there was still plenty of baseball left to be played. Pitcher Juan Agosto pitched the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th innings for the White Sox on Tuesday night, then was back on the mound to pitch the 18th, 19th and 20th on Wednesday. The Brewers did not score against him.
The Brewers did, however, break through for three runs against Ron Reed in the top of the 21st. Ben Oglivie had the big hit this time: A three-run home run in the ninth of his ten plate appearances. Again, the celebration didn’t last long, however, as the White Sox plated three in the bottom half against Chuck Porter (who pitched 7 1/3 innings in relief after the suspension), and the game continued.
Bill Schroeder was on first base when Robin Yount came to the plate in the top of the 25th but was quickly erased as Yount grounded into a double play, his third of the game. That set a franchise record that still stands, although Ryan Braun (2012) and Jean Segura (2013) later matched it in nine-inning games.
White Sox slugger Harold Baines finally ended the game in the bottom of the 25th, hitting a solo homer off of Porter to give Chicago a 7-6 victory in the longest game in MLB history in both innings (25) and time (eight hours, six minutes). Baines, along with White Sox center fielder Rudy Law and catcher Carlton Fisk, made 12 plate appearances in the game, a feat no MLB player has matched since. Yount, designated hitter Cecil Cooper and third baseman Randy Ready set Brewers franchise records by coming to the plate eleven times.
With that game finally concluded the Brewers and White Sox took a brief break, then played Wednesday’s regularly scheduled nine-inning contest. The White Sox won that game 5-4 and Tom Seaver, who had won the previous game in relief, pitched 8 1/3 innings for his second win of the day. All told, the two teams played 34 innings of baseball in two days.
Earlier, the marathon game ended a run for the Brewers that saw them go to extra innings in five out of eight contests, playing an extra 23 innings of baseball over a span of ten days. The next day they started a streak that saw them play just one extra inning over a span of 62 games.