Daily Trivia – 4/18/11/The Longest Game

Question: In iThree Amigos!, who played the title characters?

Last Question: Who drove in the winning run the winning run in baseball’s “Longest Game” between the Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings? Also, who scored the winning run?

Bonus: Can you name 2 Hall of Famers that played in that game?

Answer: Dave Koza drove in the winning run, which was scored by Marty Barrett. The Hall of Famers that played in that game were Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken Jr.

30 years ago today, April 18, 1981, The Rochester Red Wings (the Baltimore Orioles Triple-A team) came to McCoy Stadium to face the Pawtucket Red Sox (the Boston Red Sox Triple-A team).

[Let me take a moment to say that I know you’re not from Rhode Island if you pronounce Pawtucket as PAW-tucket. It’s pronounced Patucket. However, you can pronounce the ‘W’ when you call the team the Pawsox. Now that you’ve been initiated, let’s continue]

It was not uncommon back then for me to ask my dad to go to McCoy stadium to see a game, or for him to say “Let’s go to McCoy”. 30 years ago, I was throwing a tennis ball against the garage to practice my pitching and fielding. It got me in the mood for a game. So I asked Dad if we could go. Any other day, we would have gone. But today, I could see that he was struggling, thinking it over. And he said that we can’t tonight. Tomorrow is Easter, so we have to get ready for that. I was a little disappointed, but I knew that we would be back again in no time anyway. On one hand, we missed out on seeing baseball history being made in person. On the other hand, my dad may have gotten in trouble for having his 10 year old son out until 4:00 in the morning in these pre-cell phone days!!! And if anybody knows me and my dad, you know we would have been there until the very end!

I’m not upset for missing that game. If you have ever been to McCoy Stadium, you can’t help but feel like you were at that game. They have the 33 inning memorabilia all over the place. Every season since that game, you could get your 33 inning souvenir cup with your soda. It has the line score wrapped around the cup. And towards the end of each game, there would be some kids running around the stadium grabbing the empty cups that people left behind. I don’t know how much the 33 inning game would be hyped up in Pawtucket if Rochester won instead of the Red Sox. But the Red Sox won, and we have bragging rights for winning the longest professional baseball game in history.

The Game

I don’t mean to sound like Yogi Berra, but this was a long game before it even started. The game started 30 minutes late due to problems with the stadium lights. So, the game started at 8:25 p.m.

This almost ended up being a quick game with Rochester leading 1-0 in the bottom of the 9th inning.
But, Designated Hitter Russ Laribee hit a sacrifice fly to score one of my all-time favorite Pawsox players – Chico Walker.

There was not another run in the game until Rochester scored in the top of the 21st inning. But, at the bottom of the inning, Wade Boggs drove in the tying run. Later he said, “I didn’t know if the guys on the team wanted to hug me or slug me.

Although most leagues have a curfew rule that would have suspended the game—the International League’s triggers at 12:50 a.m.—the rule book that the home plate umpire Dennis Cregg had that night did not contain one.

So the game continued.

By 4 a.m. the players were “delirious” from exhaustion; Rochester’s Dave Huppert had caught the first 31 innings before being replaced, and Jim Umbarger pitched 10 scoreless innings from the 23rd inning, striking out nine and giving up four hits. The president of the league, Harold Cooper, was finally reached on the phone sometime after 3 a.m.; the horrified Cooper ordered that play stop at the end of the current inning. Finally at 4:07, at the end of the 32nd inning and more than eight hours after it began, the game was stopped.

The game resumed when the Red Wings were back in town on June 23, 1981. At this time, the major leagues were on strike. This magnified the attention that this game was already getting.

The game ended after just 18 minutes when Dave Koza drove in Marty Barrett.

Here are the records that were set in the game (from the International League website):

Innings played – 33

Time – 8 hours 25 minutes

Putouts, One Team – 99

Putouts, Both Teams – 195

At Bats, One Team – Pawtucket 114

At Bats, Both Teams – 219

Strikeouts, One Team – Rochester Batters 34

Strikeouts, Both Teams – 60

Assists, Both Teams – 88

Most Times At Bat – Lee Graham, Dave Koza, Chico Walker; Pawtucket – 14 each

Most Plate Appearances – Tom Eaton, Dallas Williams, Cal Ripken; Rochester – 15 each.

Here are the references I used to refresh my memory:

The International League Web Site

The Providence Journal (aka Projo)

The Washington Post

Fox Sports

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