The average duration of a baseball game (As of 2019) is 3 hours, 5 minutes, and 11 seconds and Major League Baseball is trying to speed up the game in the future. That would have been a good idea when the longest MLB games took place.
The longest games in MLB history have been well documented throughout the years. I mean, even if baseball is a slow sport by nature, it's not usual to see a game go all the way to the 20th inning or even further.
Even diehard baseball fans may have been kind of bored after 7 hours sitting on their couch or the bleachers, let alone how exhausted players must have been, especially those relievers out of the bullpen.
So, in case you ever wondered how many innings was the longest baseball game ever, we've got you covered. Sit down, grab a snack, and relax while we walk you through the 5 longest games in MLB history.
“Baseball was always kind of a struggle for me. I guess maybe I was doing all right and didn’t realize it.” We can all relate to Billy Herman’s sentiment, though evidence of the Hall of Famer’s struggles are hard to find. The second baseman was born #OTD in 1909. (Look Magazine/National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum)
5. July 21, 1945: Detroit Tigers 1, Philadelphia Athletics 1
Length: 24 innings
Pitching duel enthusiasts were in for a treat when the Detroit Tigers faced the Philadelphia Athletics in 1945. They played for 4 hours, 48 minutes straight, and most impressively, only four pitchers took the mound that afternoon (2 per team).
Les Mueller allowed just one earned run through 19.2 innings for the Tigers, while Russ Christopher pitched 13 full innings for the Athletics. They went on and on until the game was called a tie due to darkness.
4. April 15, 1968: Houston Astros 1, New York Mets 0
Length: 24 innings
There have been games featuring great defense, a sharp pitcher, and poor hitting. Well, it all collided when the New York Mets and Houston Astros met in 1968 during a game that was scoreless until the 24th inning.
This never-ending game was 6 hours and 6 minutes long. This game also holds the record for the most scoreless innings in MLB history, with Tom Seaver and Don Wilson putting up a pitching clinic. Ironically, the game was ended on an error by Al Weis, so it could have gone even further.
3. Sept. 11, 1974: St. Louis Cardinals 4, New York Mets 3
Length: 25 innings
This matchup between the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets is the longest continous MLB game ever not ended in a tie. Impressively, it went on for 7 hours and 4 minutes and ended past 3:00 in the morning.
What made this game even more iconic is the fact that the Cardinals actually held a 3-1 lead entering the 9th inning before the Mets tied it up. They went on for 16 more innings until Bake McBride scored off an erratic throw by Hank Webb. Perhaps he just wanted to go home.
2. May 8, 1984: Chicago White Sox 7, Milwaukee Brewers 6
Length: 25 innings
If you thought the previous game went on forever, then you wouldn't want to be in the stadium when the Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers played for 8 hours and 6 minutes, which is an MLB record for the longest game ever (in time).
This game was on for so long that they had to complete it the next day. Both teams played for 17 innings before the game was called at 1:00 am. The next day, the Brewers took a 3-run lead in the 21st but the White Sox managed to tie it again and ended up winning the contest on the 25th.
1. May 1, 1920: Brooklyn Robins 1, Boston Braves 1
Length: 26 innings
Imagine a baseball game going on for 26 innings just to end up in a tie. That's just unacceptable but hey, it was part of the rules back in the day when the Brooklyn Robins faced the Boston Braves in 1920.
Robins and Braves starred a pitching and defensive clinic that, surprisingly, only went on for 3 hours and 50 minutes, which is slightly longer than the average baseball game. The game was eventually called a tie due to darkness. On a more impressive note, both Leon Cadore (Brooklyn) and Joe Oeschger (Boston) pitched all 26 innings.
List of Longest MLB Games:
- Aug. 22, 1917: Brooklyn Robins 6, Pittsburgh Pirates 5 (22 innings)
- May 17, 1927: Chicago Cubs 4, Boston Braves 3 (22 innings)
- June 24, 1962: New York Yankees 9, Detroit Tigers 7 (22 innings)
- June 12, 1967: Washington Senators 6, Chicago White Sox 5 (22 innings)
- May 12, 1972: Milwaukee Brewers 4, Minnesota Twins 3 (22 innings)
- Aug. 23, 1989: Los Angeles Dodgers 1, Montreal Expos 0 (22 innings)
- Aug. 31, 1993: Minnesota Twins 5, Cleveland Indians 4 (22 innings)
- April 17, 2008: Colorado Rockies 2, San Diego Padres 1 (22 innings)
- June 27, 1939: Brooklyn Dodgers 2, Boston Bees 2 (23 innings)
- May 31, 1964: San Francisco Giants 8, New York Mets 6 (23 innings)
- Sept. 1, 1906: Philadelphia Athletics 4, Boston Americans 1 (24 innings)
- July 21, 1945: Detroit Tigers 1, Philadelphia Athletics 1 (24 innings)
- April 15, 1968: Houston Astros 1, New York Mets 0 (24 innings)
- Sept. 11, 1974: St. Louis Cardinals 4, New York Mets 3 (25 innings)
- May 8, 1984: Chicago White Sox 7, Milwaukee Brewers 6 (25 innings)
- May 1, 1920: Brooklyn Robins 1, Boston Braves 1 (26 innings)
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