Anniversary of Baseball Marathon: Giants, Mets, 32 innings: With Poignant New Comment from Craig Anderson.
The message popped up in my queue. Fifty years. Bill Wakefield lives near his alma mater, Stanford, and is well aware that Saturday is the 50th anniversary of the epic 23-inning nightcap he started for the Mets.
Some of us are lucky enough to remember the game.
I woke up that morning in Kansas City, covered the Yankees’ game, 46-minute rain delay and all, flew back to LaGuardia on the Yankees’ charter, saw the game still going on in Shea, was met by my wife, and we watched the last 9-10 innings at my family’s home in Queens. You couldn’t not watch.
The box score (below) says Wakefield started the second game (he was quite a good reliever most of that season, his only in the majors) and lasted two innings.
Craig Anderson then came in and gave up four runs. I’m going to send him an e-mail and ask his memories of the day.
Wakefield has told me that as the game went on (and on, and on) Casey Stengel tried to send him into the game. Since Wake had already pitched, that would not have been a good idea. So he dressed and went into the stands.
Some players had even shorter games. Ken McKenzie, an original Met, faced one batter in the seventh, gave up a hit, and was yanked by Alvin Dark. Duke Snider, ex-Dodger, ex-Met, pinch-hit and had to sit around for hours. Willie McCovey pinch-hit, and sat.
Galen Cisco pitched a complete game, 9 innings, for the Mets and lost, finally.
Gaylord Perry pitched 10 innings and was the winning pitcher.
The box score is wonderful. Back in the day, pitchers were pitchers, men were men, nobody had heard of Tommy John and his elbow.
I love the names – Jesse Gonder, Joe Christopher (he’s around somewhere), oldies like Tom Sturdivant and Frank Lary, and Wakefield’s good pal, the late Hot Rod Kanehl.
Oh, and check out who played shortstop for the Giants for a while during that game.
ADDENDUM ON SATURDAY:
Just to warm up for the anniversary, the Mets played 14 on Friday night (and lost, but you already know that, after a muffed fly ball.)
THIS JUST IN FROM CRAIG ANDERSON, ORIGINAL MET:
"Yes , how well I remember that memorable day although not the type of memories i will cherish. I am glad to be in a record-making doubleheader and I even saw my name in Cooperstown when this box score was displayed up there. I had pitched pretty well since being called up on May 1st but after this outing I was sent to Buffalo, thus my last day in the big leagues. Never to be called up again or invited to spring training.
"My only out was a ground ball fielder's choice hit by Willie Mays. I sat in the stands for about 8 hours and can't say it was enjoyable to me."
* * *
Your memories and reactions are welcome in the Comments (below)
Meanwhile, the great Ed Lucas tells his memories:
Nice web site with other people’s memories:
First game. Normal 9 innings. Normal Met loss.
Second game. Not normal. 23 innings. Normal Met loss.
David Vecsey's sweet tale of distant love before the Web, now NYT Podcast, narrated by Griffin Dunne. Please see:
George Vecsey is Hofstra University's Alumnus of the Month! Read a Q&A with George here.