The Longest Baseball Game Ever Played

McCoy Stadium, where the world's longest baseball game ever took place. Photo credit: Joy Brown /
McCoy Stadium, where the world's longest baseball game ever took place. Photo credit: Joy Brown /

The longest baseball game ever was played on April 18 and 19 and June 23, 1981. The participating teams were the Pawtucket Red Sox against the Rochester Red Wings, both of which were from the Triple-A International League. The match lasted 33 innings and took eight hours and twenty-five minutes. The teams faced each other at McCoy Stadium located in Pawtucket in Rhode Island. Pawtucket emerged victorious at 3-2.

The Game

The game commenced at 8:25 p.m. on April 18, 1981, which was on a Saturday. There had been a 30-minute delay due to issues with stadium lights, and 1,740 fans were present. The game continued into the night and Easter morning. For numerous times, one side almost clinched the victory, but the situation changed. The weather during the game was extremely cold, and players were forced to burn broken bats as well as the wooden benches of the stadium to keep warm. There was also a shortage of food in the clubhouse. The wind that was blowing infield made it difficult to score hits, and by 4 a.m. the players were utterly exhausted. Mike Tamburro, the Pawtucket public relations officer, made a call to the then President of the league Harold Cooper. Cooper made orders for the game to end after the current inning. After the 32nd inning, the game was halted at 4:07 a.m., and there were nineteen fans who were awarded lifetime or season passes to the stadium. The participants in the game proceeded home to take a rest before congregating at 11 a.m. for another match. The game resumed on June 23 as the Red Wings were in town. There were about 5,746 spectators in addition to 140 reporters present in the stadium. The June 23 game only took eighteen minutes and one winning to end.

The players

Two players in the game went on to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Cal Ripken Junior played 3rd base for Rochester and went 2-for-13 on the night. Ripken was recognized as the Rookie of the Year by the American league in 1982 and was inducted in 2007. Wade Boggs played 3rd base for the Pawtucket team, and he went 4-for-12 with both a double and a RBI. The Baseball Hall of Fame is in possession of other artifacts of the game such as the official scorecard. 23 other players were either former or future major leaguers. Some of the players from Pawtucket included Bob Ojeda, Marty Barrett, Bruce Hurst, and Manny Sarmiento while those from Rochester included Cliff Speck, Mark Corey, and Jim Umbarger.

Records Set in the Game

The record for the highest number of putouts in a single game was made by Pawtucket at 99. It also holds the record for the most total putouts in a single game at 195 and most strikeouts in a lone game at 60. The game's innings, which were 33, set the record for the most innings. The game still holds the record for the longest total time for a single game at eight hours and 25 minutes. Lee Graham, Dave Koza, and Chico Walker from Pawtucket set the record for the most at-bats by a single player in one game at 14. Overall, the most total at-bats in a single game were made during the game at 219. 60 remains the most total strikeouts in a single baseball game as made in the historic game.


More in Did You Know