In sports, a timer is usually involved, but the best thing about baseball is that it doesn’t have time constraints. Some games end in the allotted nine innings, and others seem to go on much longer than anticipated. Therefore, a comeback is always possible in baseball since time never seems to run out.
The Longest MLB Games Ever Played
In Major League Baseball, extra-inning games are nothing new, but some games took things to the extreme. There are some MLB games that lasted more than six hours to decide the winner and some that went beyond 20 innings. So, if you are wondering, what were the longest MLB games ever played, here’s the answer to your question. Let’s dive deep into the record book to examine those marathon contests. Perhaps you’ll want to celebrate these teams that made MLB history by donning their officially licensed sports apparel.
Brooklyn Robins vs. Boston Braves
May 1, 1920
Length: 26 Innings
Score: Robins 1, Braves 1
The longest Major League game occurred over a century ago at Braves Field. On May 1, 1920, the Brooklyn Robins and the Boston Braves squared off against one another and played for an unbelievable 26 innings.
Brooklyn’s run came in the fifth inning thanks to leadoff man Ivy Olson, which put Brooklyn on the board with 1-0. However, Boston’s Tony Boeckel hit an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth, tying the game 1-1. After a crisp three hours and 50 minutes, no more runs were scored, and the game eventually was forced to end at a tie due to insufficient lighting.
Chicago Whites Sox vs. Milwaukee Brewers
May 8, 1984
Length: 25 innings
Score: Sox 7, Brewers 6
As far as the second longest MLB game is concerned, there’s a tie, and both games occurred 10 years apart. First, let’s look at the longest MLB game in terms of time.
In early 1984, the Chicago White Sox faced the Milwaukee Brewers in a jam-packed Comiskey Park, and it took two days to conclude. The game that began on May 8 was tied 3-3 after 18 innings but got postponed when the clock struck 1 a.m. Resuming the next day, Brewers’ Ben Oglivie helped his team with a three-run homer in the 21st inning. Chicago somehow tied it again with the help of RBI knocks by Tom Paciorek and Carlton Fisk in the bottom half, and the game continued into the 25th inning.
In the bottom of the 25th inning, Chicago outfielder Harold Baines drove a walk-off home run, giving Chicago a 7-6 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. Altogether, the game lasted 8 hours and 6 minutes and still holds the record for the longest MLB game ever played in terms of time.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Mets
September 11, 1974
Length: 25 Innings
Score: Cardinals 4, Mets 3
The other second longest MLB game was played between the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets and also lasted for 25 innings. On September 11, 1974, more than 13 thousand fans gathered at Shea Stadium to watch these two teams match up, but they had no idea what would happen next and that this momentous day would go down in history.
The game started on Wednesday night and ended at 3:13 a.m. EST on Thursday after completing an impressive 25 innings. In the first 11 innings, both teams went without yielding a single run until Mets pitcher Jerry Koosman managed to get a 3-1 lead. After some time passed, the game would have remained scoreless again if it weren’t for Bake McBride’s leadoff single in the 25th. Then on the wild pickoff, McBride scored all the way from first and secured the game for the St. Louis Cardinals with about 1,000 fans still in the stands. This seven-hour-long game is also considered the longest MLB game ever played without a postponement or delay.
Houston Astros vs. New York Mets
April 15, 1968
Length: 24 Innings
Score: Astros 1, Mets 0
The New York Mets have a long history of being part of historical games. Six years before the seven-hour-long match in Flushing, where they played 25 innings, the Mets played a 24-inning game in Astrodome against the Houston Astros.
This historic game began with Astros’ Don Wilson and Mets’ Hall of Famer Tom Seaver. The crowd witnessed the best pitching performance by both players that day, as the game was scoreless until the bottom of the 24th. Seaver, who was in his second MLB season, pitched a scoreless 10 innings and only gave up two hits, while Wilson threw nine shutouts and allowed only five hits.
The game mercifully ended when Houston’s Bob Aspromonte hit a grounder that went through the legs of infielder Al Weiss, allowing the game’s lone run. This game lasted more than six hours and set the record for the longest night game in MLB history.
Detroit Tigers vs. Philadelphia Athletics
July 21, 1945
Length: 24 innings
Score Tigers 1, Athletics 1
Played at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, this 24-inning game between the Detroit Tigers and the Philadelphia Athletics lasted for a brisk four hours and 48 minutes. Although the game was 24 innings long, both teams used only two pitchers and somehow managed to grind it out in under 5 hours.
For the Tigers, Les Muller handled 19.2 innings and allowed one unearned run. Notable to mention here, Muller was one of the few MLB players who returned from military service following World War II. Dizzy Trout pitched the remaining innings without giving up a single run.
On the other side, the A’s legendary manager Connie Mack let Russ Christopher pitch the first 13 innings, where he gave up just one run. For the remaining 11 innings, Joe Berry came into pitch and kept the Tigers from scoring.
A’s scored their first run in the bottom of the fourth frame with the help of Buddy Rosar’s RBI single to left field. On the other hand, the Tigers leveled the score in seventh with a Doc Cramer groundout, and the score stayed the same till the end. The game was then called off after 24 innings due to the darkness.
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Philadelphia Athletics vs. Boston Americans
September 1, 1906
Length: 24 Innings
Score: Athletics 4, Americans 1
The legendary Connie Mack served the A’s for more than 45 years and was affiliated with two of the longest MLB games ever played, one as a manager and one as a skipper. The first of these two games was played at the Huntington Avenue Grounds in Boston in front of 18,000 crowds, which turned out to be pretty exciting.
The A’s opened the game in the top of the third inning when Harry Lord struck a run-scoring infield hit, but in the sixth inning, Americans’ Chick Stahl leveled the score. The A’s were held scoreless until the 24th inning, yet they won with a tiebreaking RBI single and RBI triples by Osee Schrecongost, Sock Seybold, and Danny Murphy, respectively.
For the A’s, Jack Coombs pitched the entire game, allowing just one run and striking out 18 players. It was absolute carnage by this rookie pitcher. However, Americans pitcher Joe Harris also gave a commendable performance and was brilliant until the 24th frame, striking out 14.
Additionally, there have been eight MLB games that lasted for 23 innings or more and nine games that ended at 22 innings milestone. Here’s a rundown:
- Colorado Rockies vs. San Diego Padres (2-1) on April 17, 2008
- Minnesota Twins vs. Cleveland Indians (5-4) on August 31, 1993
- Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Montreal Expos (1-0) on August 23, 1939
- Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (5-4) on June 3, 1989
- Milwaukee Brewers vs. Minnesota Twins (4-3) on May 12, 1972
- Washington Senators vs. Chicago White Sox (6-5) on June 12, 1967
- New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers (9-7) on June 24, 1927
- Chicago Cubs vs. Boston Braves (4-3) on May 17, 1927
- Brooklyn Robins vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (6-5) on August 22, 1917
In an era where Major League Baseball is looking to find new ways to reduce playing time, going through the list of longest MLB games ever played is a treat for Fanatics who love this sport.
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