By Alfredo Alvarez
Miami- Since in the past few days there has been talk about shortening the duration of games, and many of us who love this sport do not like the idea, because as my grandpa always said: ‘’The more baseball is played the better’’, here are the longest games in the history of different countries and their leagues.
In Cuban Baseball, the record occurred between the teams from Havana and Matanzas, where 24 innings were played in the Victoria de Girón stadium in the province of Matanzas. This match took two days to complete. It started on December 8, 1993 and ended on the following day. Only day games were played at that time, so the match was tied at 6 in the 12th when it was stopped due to darkness and resumed the next day. Then the Matanzas team brought their ace to the mound, left-hander Jorge Luis Valdés, who threw 12 innings without allowing a run until Vaisel Acosta hit a walk-off grand slam homerun on the bottom of the 24th. A peculiar fact was that there were no stolen bases in this game but there were 5 players caught stealing; three for Matanzas and two for Havana. The match lasted six hours and 48 minutes. Havana catcher Pedro Luis Rodriguez, achieved 11 official at bats, implanting a record in the Cuban League.
In the Mexican Summer League, three games have been played for 23 innings. Rojos Del Águila de Veracruz vs Olmecas de Tabasco on May 17, 2016, the Rieleros de Aguascalientes vs the Cafeteros de Córdoba on April 28, 1977 and the Diablos Rojos del México vs Rojos del Águila de Veracruz in a game held on March 30, June 2001.
The one in 2016 has been the longest one with a 7 hours and 34 minutes played. The game started at 20:01 on the 17th and ended after 03:34 on the 18th, with a victory for Olmecas 6-5.
In the Caribbean Series, a match held on February 7, 2013, the Yaquis de Obregón gave Mexico the Caribbean Series championship by beating 4-3 the Leones del Escogido of the Dominican Republic, in a game that lasted longer than 7 hours and it took 18 innings.
The one who put an end to the action was batter Doug Clark with a solitary walk-off homer in the 18th inning.
In Venezuela, on June 5, 1938, the Gavilanes and Pastora teams would face 20 disputed episodes at the Estadio del Lago, located in La Ciega, Maracaibo, staging the longest game of Venezuelan baseball.
The pitchers were Andrés Julio «Grillo B» Báez and the Cuban, Lazaro «The Prince of Bethlehem» Salazar. Both pitched complete games where Pastora won 1-0. The race was scored by «Grillo B» himself, who hit a double and then was brought to the plate by another double from Domingo Barboza.
The game lasted 6 hours and 20 minutes, and as a point of interest, it is worth mentioning that several well-known Venezuelan players were part of this meeting, for example: Luis Aparicio Ortega (father of Luis Aparicio Montiel), Vidal López, Ernesto Aparicio, Alejandro Carrasquel and » Manduquito» Portillo. The game began at 9:40 in the morning and ended at 4:00 in the afternoon.
On January 13, 1981, the Tigres del Licey and the Estrellas Orientales got involved in a 22-inning marathon, which began on January 12th and ended on the 13th. Estrellas Orientales won that match by a 4-3 scoreboard at the Quisqueya Stadium.
On July 10, 1949, the teams «Navarros Cubs» and the «Escuelas Internacionales» of the First Division, in the National Stadium in Nicaragua, played 26 episodes of intense baseball. The victory was for «Navarro Cubs». This meeting began at 10:30 in the morning until 4:21 in the afternoon. The game lasted 5 and a half hours and as a peculiar fact, after chapter 13 the doors were open and many people came in for free to see this record-breaking game.
Now of all the professional games in the history of baseball the longest game with the most innings played has been between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings, two teams of the Triple-A. This challenge lasted 33 innings, where balls and strikes were thrown for 8 hours and 25 minutes. The game took 5 days to finish, since 32 innings were played on April 18/19, 1981, at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and inning 33 was finished on June 23, 1981. Pawtucket won the game, 3-2. Among the most curious notes, Russ Laribee of PawSox went 11-0 with a sacrifice fly, striking out seven times, becoming the first player in history to take that many K’s. Between the two teams, the pitchers faced a total of 246 batters, a total of 882 pitches were thrown, 53 runners were on base (30 for Rochester and 23 for Pawtucket) and the game winning hit came from Dave Koza of Pawtucket who had the most hits in that game with 5.
In the big leagues, it is worth mentioning two unforgettable encounters. One was the 1-1 tied in the National League between the Boston Braves and the Brooklyn Robins that lasted 26 chapters, at Braves Field in Boston on May 1, 1920. Because it was too dark to see the ball (remember that in that time there was no lights in the stadiums), the head referee Barry McCormick considered the game a tie. At that time, those 26 innings were completed in 3 hours and 50 minutes.
Now in this modern era, the longest innings game that ended with a winning team, was a 7-6 win by the Chicago White Sox over the Milwaukee Brewers in 25 innings, at Comiskey Park in Chicago in 1984. The game started at 7:30 p.m. on May 8, 1984, but was suspended after 17 innings with a score tied 3-3 due to the curfew rule that existed, forbidding play after 12:59 a.m. The game was continued the following night, May 9, 1984, and finally, in the bottom of the 25th inning, Harold Baines of the White Sox hit a walk-off home run. The game time was 8 hours and 6 minutes, also a Major League record.
In the Guinness books
But if we’re going to talk about baseball marathons, none more than the 74 hours, 26 minutes and 53 seconds, performed by 56 amateur baseball players from the Missouri area. This happened at the GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Illinois in the United States, from May 26 to 29, 2017. The group broke its previous record of 70 hours, 9 minutes and 24 seconds implemented in 2015. This idea was from the national charity military called «The Mission Continues», which helps veterans who are adapting to life back home through the impact it brings to the community.
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