Today is the 30th anniversary of history’s longest pro baseball game– a little contest between my (then) hometown team, the Rochester Red Wings and the Pawtucket Red Sox. It lasted for almost eight and a half hours and had 32 innings. The 33rd inning, which decided the game, wasn’t played until two months later!
It all happened that way because of a problem with a rule book. The International League, in which both teams play, uses a curfew of 12:50 am., at which time the game is suspended. However the rule book the home plate umpire, David Gregg, was using didn’t contain that rule, so the game was never called.
It started at 8:25 pm on April 18, and was stopped in the 32nd inning at 4:07 am on April 19, seven hours and 42 minutes later. The 33rd and final inning was played on June 23rd, the next time the Red Wings were in town! Unfortunately for my old team, the Red Sox won, despite the appearance of Cal Ripken, Jr. for the Red Wings. Of course the Red Sox did have Wade Boggs to even things up a bit.
As the game went on into the wee hours the night got so cold the the players in the dugouts burned broken bats and the wooden stadium benches in an attempt to keep warm. By four am there were only 19 fans left in the stadium. Their loyalty paid off, though. They were each given season passes.
When the game resumed on June 23, it was to a sellout crowd of 5,746, not to mention 140 reporters from around the world. David Gregg (he of the incomplete rule book) never attended another baseball game.