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1980s / The 33-Inning Baseball Game - 1981
The longest game in pro baseball history occurred at McCoy Stadium in 1981 between the home Pawtucket (RI) Red Sox and visiting Rochester (NY) Red Wings of the AAA International League. It lasted a mind-boggling 33 innings. The game began on Saturday, April 18 and lasted 32 innings before being stopped. Play resumed on June 23. Only one additional inning was required as Pawtucket won 3-2 in the bottom of the 33rd inning. The game included future Hall-of-Famers Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken Jr. and 23 others who would eventually advance to MLB. Ominously the start of the game was delayed 30 minutes while a bank of lights was repaired. The game was tied 1-1 after nine innings. It remained knotted for the next 11 innings due to strong performances by both bullpens. In the top of the 21st inning, Red Wings' catcher Dave Huppert doubled, driving in a run giving Rochester a 2-1 lead. In the bottom of the inning, Pawtucket's Wade Boggs hit a double to score Dave Koza and tie the game 2-2. According to league rules, a curfew was supposed to take effect at 1 AM. However, plate umpire Dennis Cregg had an out-of-date rule book; it was missing that provision. Thus the game continued for 11 more scoreless innings. At 2 AM Pawtucket reliever Luis Aponte, who had pitched the seventh through tenth innings, received permission to go home. When Aponte got home at 3 AM, his wife Xiomara angrily asked, "Where have you been?" The pitcher responded, "At the ballpark." His wife snapped, "Like hell you have!" Because news of the game didn't appear in most newspapers until Monday, Aponte spent two nights on the couch. At the start of the 30th inning, the game became the longest in professional history, surpassing a 29-inning game in the Florida State League on June 14, 1966. As the game dragged on, food supplies ran out in the clubhouse and players took drastic measures to keep warm in the April chill. This included burning the benches in the bullpens and the broken bats in the dugouts. Meanwhile, Pawtucket general manager Mike Tamburro was attempting to reach IL president Harold Cooper so he could intervene. Cooper was eventually reached. Horrified, he ordered the game suspended after the completion of the current inning. At 4:09 AM, at the end of the 32nd inning, the game was stopped and would be resumed at a later date. At this point, there were just 19 fans left in the ballpark from the original 1,740. (One was the nephew of umpire Cregg. He had fallen asleep.) Each was given a lifetime pass to McCoy Stadium by Pawtucket owner Ben Mondor. As the players left the stadium they encountered people on their way to sunrise church services for Easter Sunday. Play resumed on June 23 when the Red Wings next returned to Pawtucket. On hand for the resumption was a sellout crowd of 5,746 fans, four television networks, and 140 members of the press from around the world. The game required just one inning and 18 minutes to finish. Pawtucket's first three batters singled. Dave Koza's drove home Marty Barrett. This photo shows on-deck hitter Wade Boggs congratulating Barrett as he touches the plate. The game had lasted a combined 8 hours and 25 minutes. A total of 882 pitches had been thrown.