In honor of John Isner and Nicolas Mahut’s epic 2010 Wimbledon match, the longest tennis match in history, I thought it would be interesting to look at the longest games in Boston sports history. Here’s a rundown of the longest games involving each of these Hub-area teams:
Pawtucket Red Sox
The Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston’s Triple-A affiliate, actually hold the record for longest game in baseball history. Back in 1981, the Paw Sox defeated the Rochester Red Wings, 3-2, in a game that lasted an amazing 33 innings. In the bottom of the 33rd inning, Pawtucket’s Dave Koza drove in Marty Barrett for the winning run. The game took more than eight hours (8:25 to be precise) to complete, and was played over the span of two days.
The stats coming out of this game are simply astounding …
Most Putouts by one team – 99 (Pawtucket)
Most Putouts by both teams – 195
Most At-Bats by one team – 114 (Pawtucket)
Most Strikeouts by one team – 34 (Rochester batters)
Most At-Bats by both teams – 219
Most Total Strikeouts in one game – 60
Most Strikeouts by one player in a game – 7, Russ Laribee (Pawtucket)
Most At-Bats by one player in one game – 14, Dave Koza, Lee Graham, Chico Walker (all Pawtucket)
In addition, Rochester’s Cal Ripken Jr. (yes, THE Cal Ripken Jr.) took a serious hit to his batting average, recording only two hits in 13 at-bats (.154).
As one would expect, Pawtucket's Wade Boggs finished the game with a respectable 4-for-12. Hitting .333 in a 33 inning game ... not bad at all.
Boston College Baseball
Two years ago, the Boston College Eagles baseball team also set the record for longest NCAA baseball game in history. Playing in their first NCAA Tournament in 42 seasons, the Eagles played the No. 1 seeded Texas Longhorns even for 25 innings before Texas’ Travis Tucker hit an RBI single with one out in the top of the 25th to lead the Longhorns to a 3-2 victory.
Incredibly, Texas reliever Austin Wood pitched 13 innings, including 12 1/3 innings of no-hit baseball. Austin Wood's rotator cuff should be enshrined in Cooperstown.
BC used eight different pitchers in the game, and reliever Mike Belfiore pitched 9 2/3 innings, allowing only three hits and striking out 11 before being relieved in the 19th inning.
The game lasted seven hours and three minutes.
Boston Red Sox
While every Yankees-Red Sox game feels like the longest game in baseball history, the Red Sox have actually never played a baseball game beyond 20 innings. A paltry total number of innings compared to the records set by the Paw Sox and the Eagles. The longest game between Boston and New York went 20 innings (August 29, 1967). The Yankees won, 4-3.
Another Boston team, the Boston Braves, hold the record for the longest baseball game by innings. On May 1, 1920, the Braves played the Brooklyn Dodgers to a 1-1 tie through 26 innings. The game was finally called due to darkness. Back then, Major League Baseball had no rules that called for the game to be completed at a later time.
The Celtics have played two memorable overtime games in their history, both occurring in the playoffs. Way back in 1953, the C’s took the Syracuse Nationals to four overtimes, ultimately defeating them, 111-105.
In more recent history, the Celtics defeated the Phoenix Suns in Game 5 of the 1976 NBA Finals, 128-126, in what many consider to be the greatest game in NBA history. In the third overtime, Boston jumped out to a six-point lead. Despite Paul Westphal and the Suns cutting the lead to two, Phoenix never got the ball back, and the C’s went on to win Game 5, en route to a Game 6 win and the franchise’s 13th Championship.
The Bruins have played in one of the two NHL playoff games ever to reach six overtimes. On April 3, 1933, the Toronto Maple Leafs' Ken Doraty netted the game winner at 4:46 of the sixth overtime to give the Leafs a 1-0 win over the Bruins.
The longest NHL playoff game between the Red Wings and the Montreal Maroons lasted only 11 minutes longer (overtime length was 116:30) and was set less than three years after the Bruins-Leafs 6 OT game.