April 18, 2006


Long Memories From a Baseball Classic: After 25 Years, 33-Inning Game Remains Fresh for Those Who Played (Dave Sheinin, 4/18/06, Washington Post)

Begin with the box score, which, if box scores are like artwork, is the Sistine Chapel. Gaze at the artist's masterstrokes, the grand, virtuoso flourishes -- in this case, a pair of monumental last names, Ripken and Boggs, both of which share the designation "3b." Twenty-five years later, these two names would be the famous touches that give this celebrated piece its historical heft.

But as with any work of genius, the brilliance is in the details.

Take your time. Let the eye take you where it will. Recoil at the odd, all-caps designation at the top: "COMPLETION OF SUSPENDED GAME (April 18)." Pore over the lineups and pitching lines, stopping at each familiar name: Gedman, Barrett, Rayford, Hurst, Ojeda, all of them future big leaguers.

Linger upon the incongruities, which your keen, experienced eye discerns immediately. Take a moment to ponder poor "Williams cf," whose batting line reads 13 0 0 0 -- an 0-fer for the ages. Marvel at the pitching line for Umbarger: 10 4 0 0 0 9. Move your gaze to the very bottom, to the time of game: 8:25. Say it out loud: Eight hours 25 minutes.

Finally, contemplate the ungodly line score:

ROCHESTER 000 000 100 000 000 000 001 000 000 000 000 -- 2 18 3
PAWTUCKET 000 000 001 000 000 000 001 000 000 000 001 -- 3 21 1

There is an epic to be told from those two lines of type alone: Pawtucket's tying run in the bottom of the ninth.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 18, 2006 7:25 AM

What's also amazing is that Rochester had only 2 runs on 18 hits. So the game was full of near chances.

Posted by: rds at April 18, 2006 11:25 AM

I though about trying to to work as an usher on the night of the New York Mets-St. Louis Cardinal game in 1974 that went 25 innings, but opted not to try and get one of the non-union call slots because it was in the middle of the week and towards the end of the season, when the need for extra ushers was going to be low (especially the way the Mets were playing in 1974). No point in dressing up in white shirt, gray pants and Met-blue bowtie and going out there if you're not going to get picked.

Anyway, Jerry Koosman gave up a two-out, two run home run in the ninth inning to tie it, and the game just went on and on and on. Ralph Kiener had gone downstairs in the ninth to get ready for the post-game show, and I remember them cutting to a shot of Ralph sometime around 1:45 a.m. fast asleep in his Kiner's Korner chair. I no doubt would have be doing something similar, though the upper deck chairs at Shea weren't very condusive for snoozing.

Posted by: John at April 18, 2006 12:28 PM

Many years ago, I attended an Atlanta Braves game on the 4th of July that went, if I recall correctly, 17 innings... after which, they decided to reward the substancial portion of the crowd that had remained by going ahead with the promised after-game fireworks show.

The residents around the ballpark were not so please that this was happening at 4 AM.

Posted by: Mike Earl at April 18, 2006 1:07 PM

I believe the umpire Ron Luciano wrote about a lengthy ballgame in his book "The Umpire Strikes Back". After the game finally ended, he and his fellow umps slogged wearily into a bar where the waiter knew them and asked what the score was. One of them looked up and slurred, "I dunno... but it was damn close."

Posted by: Just John at April 18, 2006 2:20 PM


The broadcast of that game by Kiner and McCarver ought to be on DVD.

Posted by: oj at April 18, 2006 6:12 PM