The Longest Pro Baseball Game Ever Was Played 39 Years Ago
It was Saturday, April 18, 1981 when the players for Pawtucket, Rhode Island and Rochester, New York suited up to play a Triple “A” minor league baseball game at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket in front of 1740 fans. Little did they know they would be involved in the longest professional baseball game ever. The game started at 8 p.m. that Saturday night, some thirty minutes late due to a problem with the stadium lights. Once underway the game remained scoreless through 6 innings.The Rochester Red Wings scored a run in the top of the seventh inning to lead 1 to nothing only to see the Pawtucket Red Sox tie the game in the bottom of the 9th inning. So, extra innings they went.
It stayed tied at 1 to 1 through 20 innings before Rochester finally pushed across a run in the top of the 21st inning to grab a 2 to 1 lead. In the bottom of the 21st inning, Wade Boggs drove home the tying run to send it to the 22nd inning. Cal Ripkin Jr. and his Red Wing teammates weren't happy about that. Boggs' own teammates weren’t too happy with him extending the game further either.
As the night went along the weather conditions took a turn for the worse. The wind was blowing in from centerfield and the temperature was dropping. According to Wikipedia, the temperatures were bad enough that the players began to burn their broken bats just to keep warm.
One pitcher was even allowed to leave early but still didn’t get home until after 3 a.m. His wife didn’t believe his story so he told her to read the paper in the morning which would authenticate his story. The problem was, the game was going so long, the paper went to press before they got off the field so there was no story. His wife had to wait another 24 hours to believe him.
By 4 a.m., the game was entering the 32nd inning. Amazingly, the Rochester catcher had caught the first 31 innings of the game and one of Pawtucket’s pitchers had thrown 10 shutout relief innings.
Finally, after over 8 hours of playing, the game was suspended by the International League President. There were 19 fans still left in the stadium and all 19 were given a season pass for the rest of the season.
The game resumed the next time the Red Wings were in Pawtucket, which turned out to be five days later on this date April 23, 1981. The 33rd inning was played in front of a capacity crowd of 5,700 fans and took only 18 minutes before it finally ended when Pawtucket scored a run to win the game 3 to 2. Some batters got as many as 14 at bats in the contest.
It was the longest professional baseball game spanning three days, eight hours and 25 minutes. The Line score is below: