The 29-inning battle was surpassed in 1981 by a 33-inning game. That contest was completed in two nights, however, leaving the 1966 marathon as the longest uninterrupted professional baseball game in history.
It was the usual steamy June night in 1966 in
The Cardinals had already made news earlier that year with a 22-game winning streak that vaulted them from last place to first. They stayed there one night. The loss that ended the streak that dropped St. Pete back to second and they never regained the lead during the first half of the season.
When Cardinal manager Sparky Anderson posted the line-up on the dugout wall, slugging left fielder, Ernie “Sweetpea”
“Sweets” was in the throes of a severe slump, so
The game was scoreless for six and a half innings before
After pinch-hitter Lloyd Fourroux tied the game with a homer to deep left field in the top of the eighth, he showered and went to watch the rest of the game at 9:30. En route to his seat, Fourroux grabbed a hot dog. Five hours and three more trips to the concession stand later, the game mercifully came to an end. Total hot dog bill for the night, $4.
The temporary upside was that
After 11 o’clock, free coffee was served to the roughly 200 fans that remained. One man went to his bowling league and came back when it was over. At 1 a.m., after the bars closed, several fans saw the lights were still on and returned for more baseball.
Hidden among the numerous innings were several outstanding performances. Except for a single walk by the Cardinals pitcher from the 14th through the 21st, Jim Williamson pitched eight shutout innings without giving up a hit.
Marlins catcher, Charlie Sands, was behind the plate all 29-innings, losing 15 pounds in the process.
Not only did Michael Hebert score the winning run in the 29th, he was also the winning pitcher. When
The game featured 203 official at bats with 44 hits between the teams, of which only six went for extra bases. There were 41 strikeouts among 11 pitchers and only 12 walks.
Two players, Lloyd Fourroux and Richard Hickerson, had both played in the previous longest game in 1965 in
Of the participants on both rosters, eight players made it to the major leagues. Charlie Sands had the longest career as a player, while Sparky Anderson was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2000 for his managerial career with
Cardinals center fielder Archie Wade went on to get his doctorate in physical education and Dennis Denning of
For me, I entered the game as the second leading hitter in the league. Though hardly illustrious, I held the record for 15 years as having 13 official at bats, but more than any other player in history, not a dubious record either. On the downside, I had only one hit, dropping my average from .368 to .250.
Later, in 1981, four players batted 14 times and Cal Ripken made 13 plate appearances.
Though the 29-inning game is now the second longest in history, it remains the longest uninterrupted game ever played. And while my record no longer stands, only six players in all of baseball have ever batted 13 or more times in a single game.
I still savor my brief 15-year stay in
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