On the 11th evening of September 1974, a Wednesday night, into the morning of the next day, a 25 inning marathon baseball game was played at Shea Stadium, Flushing, Queens New York. It tied for the longest game, in innings, to a decision in MLB history. It took 7 hours and 4 minutes to complete, finishing at 3:13 am EDT.
I followed the St. Louis Cardinals starting from around 1967. They were my team. I lived in Iowa at that time and they were only a couple of hours from where I lived. Since baseball wasn't on TV much back then, I had my trusty little radio tuned to KMOX, am 1120. I carried it around with me and listened to the Cardinals religiously.
I think the game started at about 7pm in the midwest, 8 pm in New York. I didn't make it all the way through the game, since we had school the next day. I think I fell asleep around the 17th or 18th inning. I mean, there wasn't much hitting action in the extra innings, since both teams combined for 28 innings of shutout ball from the 10th inning to the 25th inning. The winning run scored on an errant pick-off throw to first, with another error on the same play, allowing Bake McBride to score all the way from first with the leading, and winning run. The final score was 4 - 3 Cardinals.
There were numerous great stat lines in this game:
202 plate appearances combined for both teams
- a record 103 plate appearances for the NY Mets
- Felix Milan and John Milner had 12 plate appearances each
- a record 175 official at-bats are recorded
- a major league record 45 runners are stranded on base
Great players that not many will remember played in this game. One of those, Claude Osteen, pitched in relief for the Cardinals, pitching 9.1 innings of shutout baseball. What was funny, was he only pitched 22.2 innings for the Cardinals that year total. He was a late season pickup from the Houston Astros for the stretch run. He retired after the next season with 18 seasons in major league baseball.
Bob Forsch started the game for St. Louis. It was his first of 15 successful seasons with the Cardinals. The "Mad Hungarian" Al Hrabosky was a closer with the Cardinals. In 1975, he became the Saves leader for the NL. He was just coming into his own as a reliever in 1974.
Jerry Koosman started the game for the NY Mets. He was still in his prime in 1974.
Kenny Reitz, the "Zamboni Machine" was in the game for the Cardinals, as was Ted Simmons, nicknamed "Simba" for his hair.
Of course, the Cardinal greats on that team would not be complete without mentioning Lou Brock, outfielder, Hall of Famer. Coincidentally, this was his season of stealing 118 bases, breaking the record of Maury Wills, getting his 104th and 105th stolen base the night before on 10 September.
Additionally, 20 year old Keith Hernandez was playing in his first season. He would go on to a great career with the Cardinals and later with the NY Mets.
These were all fond memories for me, growing up listening to Cardinal baseball and occasionally watching the Game of the Week on TV when the Cardinals were on. And on this day in history, 11 September 1974, these two teams gave them their monies worth.