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Longest Red Sox Game, 1906

The longest game in Red Sox history took place on September 1, 1906, against the Philadelphia Athletics. The Red Sox were in last place in the American League, with the A's in third place. At the Huntington Avenue Grounds in Boston, Joe Harris was on the mound for the Sox. John W. Coombs, a promising rookie out of Colby College, was pitching for the A's. The game lasted 24-innings, and broke the record for longest game in Major League history until that time.

In the third inning, Harris misplayed a ball hit back to the mound, and fell down. The Athleticsʼ Jack Coombs was safe at first. He scored when Harris was slow to cover first base later in the inning. Boston eventually tied the game in the sixth, and the game continued—with both starting pitchers still on the mound—into the 24th inning, tied 1-1.

Longest Red Sox Game Pitchers
Joe Harris & John Coombs

In the top of the 24th, Harris gave up a single to outfielder Topsy Hartsel, who stole second. Ossee Schreckengost singled Hartsel home. Ralph "Socks" Seybold and Danny Murphy then hit a pair of RBI triples, and Boston lost the game 4-1 after a blank performance in the bottom of the 24th. Coombs of the Athletics struck out eighteen batters. The game lasted four hours and forty-five minutes in total.

The Boston Americans, the original name of the Red Sox, would end the season in last place. The Philadelphia Athletics went on to have a productive year and would win the World Series four years later behind pitcher John Coombs. Red Sox pitcher Joe Harris would retire three years later, but will always be remembered for pithing the longest game in Red Sox history.

An article in the September 2, 1906 Boston Globe captures the intensity of this marathon battle:

"For 23 Innings, Boston and the Philadelphia Athletics fought every inch of ground like gladiators, until the players began to show signs of distress and darkness was fast settling over the battlefield.

With the record broken and the enthusiastic 18,000 persons worked up to the highest pitch, the plucky Quakers landed a grand victory, not, however, until two men were down and two strikes had been called on the luck Echreckengost, when he singled and sent in the run that told the tale. 
... 
[Late in the game,] both teams requested umpire Hurst to call the game, as it was becoming dark and the infielders complained, but Hurst has no record of calling a game, and he forced the men to go on.

Boston had a dozen chances to win by anything like a sharp hit, but was always at the mercy of the young college pitcher.

Three times during the game manager Mack ordered his pitcher to pass a Boston batsmen, rather than take chances, Grimshaw, Stahl and Freeman were the men, and the dope worked to perfection.

'Buck' Freeman became so enraged at the thought of not having a shy at the ball that he walked out of the batter's box and was called out, clearly loosing his head and throwing away a splendid chance of winning the game."

This famous 24-inning game is one of the longest in MLB history, with the record for a professional baseball league game being set at 33-innings, between the Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings of Triple-A. The game was sold-out and heavily covered by the press due to a strike in MLB. Future Hall-of-Famers Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken Jr. played in the game. The PawSox eventually won, 3-2. The longest game in MLB history took place at Braves Field in Boston on May 1, 1920. The contest lasted 26-innings against the Brooklyn Dodgers, and was called by the umpire tied at 1-1 due to darkness.

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