The longest game, from the perspective of time, ever played in Major League baseball history started on May 8, 1984 and ended on May 9, 1984. The game lasted eight hours and six minutes. At the end of 17 innings, with the score tied at 3-3, the game was suspended and resumed the following day.
The game was played at Comiskey Park in Chicago, between the Chicago White Sox, who would finish in sixth place in the seven team Western Division of the American League, and the Milwaukee Brewers, who would finish in last place in the Eastern Division. A crowd of just 14,754 were on hand for the game. Tony LaRussa, who would later be named to the Hall of Fame as a Manager, was in his sixth year with the White Sox and Rene Lachemann was the Brewers Manager.
The game was resumed on May 9, before the regularly scheduled game between the two teams. The score remained tied, 3-3, through the 20th inning. In the top of the 21st inning, with Ron Reed, Chicago’s sixth pitcher on the mound, and two outs, Milwaukee designated hitter, Cecil Cooper, beat out an infield single to second base and first baseman Ted Simmons walked. Left fielder Ben Ogilvie than homered to make it 6-3 going to the last of the 21st and it looked like it was going to end there.
In the bottom of the 21st, with Milwaukee’s sixth and last pitcher, Chuck Porter, on the mound, Chicago center fielder Rudy Law got to second on an error by third baseman Randy Ready. Chicago Catcher Carlton Fisk singled to drive in Law and first baseman Marc Hill singled to left. Harold Baines was walked to load the bases and left fielder Tom Paciorek singed up the middle to score Fisk and Law with the tying runs and the game went to the 22nd.
After Porter got the first batter to strike out in the 25th inning, Harold Baines hit the 753rd pitch of the game for a walk off homer and the White Sox had won the game 7-6. Chicago had sent 104 batters to the plate in the game and Milwaukee 94.
Tom Seaver, who came in in relief and pitched a scoreless top of the 25th for Chicago got the win and then went out and started the regularly scheduled game, went 8 1/3 innings there, and got his second win of the day as the Sox won 5-4.
In the regular game, Seaver gave up just three hits, but a three run homer by first baseman Roy Howell, in the seventh, and a solo homer by short stop Robin Yount in the ninth accounted for all the Brewers scoring. Seaver ended his Hall of Fame career with 311 wins and 205 losses and a career ERA of 2.86.
Carlton Fisk caught the entire 26 innings of the first game for the White Sox and came in to pinch run in the seventh inning of the regularly scheduled game and caught the last two innings. Fisk, who played 24 years, from 1969 to 1980 with the Red Sox, before signing with the White Sox as a Free Agent in 1981 and playing with the White Sox until 1993, was also elected to the Hall of Fame.
The longest game, measured by innings, in Major League baseball history, took place on May 1, 1920 between the Brooklyn Robins, who later became the Brooklyn and then Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Boston Braves. The game, ended in a tie when it was called after 26 innings and counted as a tie in the standings.
The Robins, managed by Wilbert Robinson, who was later inducted in the Hall of Fame, as a Manager, got a run to go up 1-0 in the fifth inning when second baseman Ivy Olson drove in catcher Ernie Kruger. The Braves, managed by George Stallings, tied it at 1-1 in the sixth as third baseman Tony Boeckel drove in right fielder Walter Cruise with the tying run.
A crowd of approximately 4,500 watched as the 26 inning game was played in just three hours and fifty minutes. The Robins sent 90 players to the plate in the game and the Braves 96. There were 24 hits in the game, resulting in just the two runs, fifteen by the Braves and nine by the Dodgers. Joe Oeschger started on the mound for the Braves and Leon Cadore for the Robins. Unbelievably, they both pitched the entire 26 innings and were still on the mound when the game was called because of darkness. Cadore struck out seven and walked five and Oeschger struck out seven and walked four.
Cadore had a 10 year career and won just 68 games and lost 72, mostly with Brooklyn . After his playing career he married Mae Tebbets, whose father, Charlie Ebbets, owned the Brooklyn franchise, hence the name of their ball park, Ebbets Field. Ebbets Field was completed in 1913 in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn and opened with an exhibition game against the New York Yankees on April 5, 1913.
Oeschger pitched for twelve years, winning 82 and losing 116. He was with the Phillies, Giants and Braves before ending his career with Brooklyn. In 1920 and 1921, with the Braves, he had his most productive years, winning 35 and losing 27 including 20 wins in 1920.
After the 26 inning game, the Robins traveled back to Brooklyn, where they played the Phillies at Ebbets Field on the next day. That game went 13 innings before the Phillies won 4-3. George Smith went the entire 13 innings for the Phillies and got the win while Burleigh Grimes went the complete game for the Robins and got the loss. Grimes, who had a 19 year career, winning 270 and losing 212 was later elected to the Hall of Fame.
The next day, the Robins were back in Boston where they played a nineteen inning game before losing to the Braves 2-1. They got another complete game out of Sherry Smith who went 18 1/3 before giving up the winning run in the last of the 19th. Dana Fillingham pitched the entire 19 innings for the Braves for the win giving up just one run on 12 hits.
The Robins had played 48 innings in three games in three days and had two losses and a tie to show for it but had used just three pitchers. If this is not strange enough, the loss to the Phillies was the first of seven consecutive one run games the Robins would play, five of which they lost. At the end of that stretch, the Robins were in fourth place. They would go on to win the National League pennant with a record of 93 wins and 61 losses and lose the World Series to the Cleveland Indians five games to two.