The longest baseball game ever held measured by playing time in Major League history history covered two long days and stretched over 25 innings. It was outdone by 1 inning for the title of longest baseball game judged by number of innings. The longest playoff game in baseball history was a deciding game of the series that covered 18 innings.
The longest baseball game in history began at 7:30 pm on May 8, 1984 in a contest between the Chicago White Sox and the Milwaukee Brewers. It was a typical early season matchup that ended up being anything but typical when it finally ended the next day. It was a 3-3 tie at the bottom of the 17th inning when Major League rules prohibited it from continuing. There was a rule in force that would not allow the start of an inning after 12:59 a.m. When the game resumed the next day, the contest would last another eight innings until the bottom of the 25th when, mercifully, Harold Baines of the Sox sent one out of the park with two outs. The contest lasted 8 hours and six minutes of playing time and set a league record for playing time. The White Sox used 6 pitchers while the Brewers sent five to the mound, small numbers by today’s standards.
The longest baseball game in history by number of innings played happened 64 years earlier in a contest between Brooklyn Robins and Boston Braves back on 5/1/1920. The game was called on account of darkness in a 1-1 tie but after only 3 hours and 50 minutes. At the time the game was called it was already the longest baseball game by innings: 26 innings had been played. As a measure of how short a time it was, both teams still had their starting pitchers in the lineup.
The longest playoff game was held recently in a postseason match-up between the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves. On October 10, 2005 the Houston Astros began the game with a 2-1 game lead in the best of five series. Soon, however, it looked as if Atlanta would bring the series to Turner Field, when they took a six run lead into the eight on the strength of an Adam LaRoche grand slam earlier. Unlikely hero Lance Berkman launched his own grand slam for the Astros and they tied it up in the ninth with a two-out home run by Brad Ausmus off of Kyle Farnsworth. In the tenth inning, the Astros brought in lightly used utility player Chris Burke which turned out to be significant when, eight innings later, Burke sent a shot over the wall and sent the Astros into the ALCS against St. Louis. Significantly, Roger Clemens unexpectedly came off of the pine to pitch three innings of perfect relief in the fifteenth inning. This was the first relief work for Clemens since his rookie year in 1984. The mega-length game lasted a total of 5 hours and 50 minutes.
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