The 2020 MLB season is on hiatus during the coronavirus pandemic, so we’ve got some time to burn and a baseball void to fill. Fortunately, there are decades of Oakland A’s history to look back on, and even rerunball is better than no ball at all. Let’s reminisce!
Here’s the latest “this date in history” from A’s info manager Mike Selleck:
For April 29 #ThisDateInAthleticsHistory, do I go with Ben Grieve, who in 1998 went 5-for-5 and in 2000 hit his first career grand slam in the 10th inning. Or do I go with Brandon Moss' 19th-inning walk-off in an Oakland record 6 hour and 32 minute win over the Angels in 2013?— Mike Selleck (@MikeSelleck) April 29, 2020
With respect to Ben Grieve, we’re focusing on the Brandon Moss section of that tweet.
We’ve been looking back at a lot of decades-old history lately, but this is one memory that just about everyone in the Athletics Nation community had a chance to witness. It was only seven years ago that they set an Oakland record with this six-hour, 32-minute marathon against the Angels.
Here’s the list of longest games in 52 years of Oakland history, via Selleck:
- 6:32 — 4/29/2013, win vs. LAA (19 inn) (box score)
- 6:00 — 8/9/2002, win at NYY (16 inn) (box score)
- 5:48 — 4/18/2018, win vs. CHW (14 inn) (box score)
- 5:43 — 9/22/2012, loss at NYY (14 inn) (box score)
- 5:35 — 6/13/2013, win vs. NYY (18 inn) (box score)
The 2012 loss in New York included both teams scoring four runs in the 13th inning, while the 2013 win over the Yankees featured Jesse Chavez’s breakthrough performance and Nate Freiman’s walk-off bloop single against Mariano Rivera. I don’t specifically remember the 2002 game, but Mark Ellis had the go-ahead hit against Sterling Hitchcock. As for the 2018 game against the White Sox, that was the day after the Free Game, and in that one the A’s had to come back from deficits of 6-1 and 9-4.
But on this date, they set the record. The game was wild from start to finish. The Angels struck right away with a 1st-inning homer by Albert Pujols, and they went on to build a 7-2 lead — one of those A’s runs came on a homer by Moss in the 6th. A long Oakland rally in the 8th brought them within one, and then in the 9th, Coco Crisp drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a deep flyout, stole third, and scored on a Yoenis Cespedes single. Score tied, headed to extras.
The Angels scored in the 15th inning, but the A’s answered back in the bottom half. The evening dragged on, the concession stands were long closed, and fans began to calculate whether it was worth missing the last BART train in order to see the game through to the end. The action crept further into the wee hours of April 30.
Journal entry: "its now the 19th inning. we r out of food & water & weve lost 3 men to injury but morale is high. we need to win soon. SOS."— Obi-Sean Kenobi Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) April 30, 2013
Finally, in the 19th inning, the A’s broke through against right-hander Barry Enright. Seth Smith drew a leadoff walk, the next two batters were retired, and then, at 1:41 a.m., Moss drilled the second pitch he saw over the right-field fence. It was Moss’ ninth plate appearance of the night, and his second homer, and this one earned him the walk-off pie — which he administered to himself, saving his teammates the trouble after such a long and grueling night. (Well, Josh Reddick still added a second pie.)
Here’s the homer:
Naturally, the RF bleacher crew stuck it out to the bitter end. Here’s what it looked like from their perspective:
Three more links:
- Full game highlight video, including the pie celebration
- Athletics Nation recap from baseballgirl (after six Game Threads)
- Eyewitness account from Billy Frijoles
One reason we watch sports is for the chance to see something amazing that we’ve never witnessed before, and this was one of those times. On this date in 2013, baseball got us to sit on the edge of our seats for hours after our bedtimes, waiting inning after inning for more than two full regulation games just to find out what would happen. We’ve never waited longer, and it was totally worth it.
This was the longest game by time, but the A’s have played more than 19 innings before. Here’s the list (click dates to see box scores):
- 24 innings: 9/1/1906, 7/21/1945
- 21 innings: 6/4/1971
- 20 innings: 7/4/1905, 7/9/1971
- 19 innings: 9/27/1912, 6/17/1967, 8/10/1972, 4/29/2013
The two 24-inning games took 4:40 and 4:48 to complete, respectively. In the 1906 game, Jack Coombs went the distance (as did his opponent), throwing all two dozen frames to earn a 4-1 win; he struck out 18 batters. The 1945 game ended in a 1-1 tie.
The 20-inning affair in 1905 featured two Hall of Fame pitchers tossing complete games, with Rube Waddell outdueling Cy Young in a Philadelphia A’s victory. The July 1971 game was scoreless throughout, with Vida Blue working 11 innings, Rollie Fingers going seven, and Angel Mangual hitting the walk-off single in the 20th for a 1-0 win — Mangual would later be a walk-off hero in the ‘72 World Series, as well.
More this-date tweets from Selleck, over the past few days:
- 4/27: On April 27, 2002 the A’s tie a franchise record by hitting four home runs in the third inning…Scott Hatteberg, Terrence Long, Carlos Pena and Frank Menechino connect for the home runs.
- 4/28: On April 28, 1987 Dennis Eckersley commits an error in the A’s 7-1 win over Boston…he would not commit another error for eight years, setting what was then an American League record for pitchers with 470 consecutive errorless games.