On July 1, 1934, a pitching duel like no other took place during the first game of a doubleheader at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, as Dizzy Dean and Tony Freitas both pitched 17 innings in what proved to be an 18 inning 8-6 Cardinals win over the hometowns Reds.
It was a bit of a seesaw battle once the fourth inning rolled around, as both teams plated a run.. Then in the fifth the Reds scored twto take a 3-1 lead, but the Birds tied it right back up with a pair of runs in the sixth. The momentum swing was short lived. The Cincy squad scratched a run across in the bottom of the sixth that looked like it may have been the decider, until the Cardinals plated a run in the ninth.
From there a baseball marathon ensued. Dean and Freitas locked horns until the seventeenth when the Cincinnati hurler gave up a long ball to Ducky Medwick, which sailed over the wall in left. It looked like it was over, but the Reds came right back,. Their third baseman Tony Piet doubled, then scored on a single by by second baseman Gordon Slade. With the scored tied at 6-6 it may have seemed like the game would never come to an end.
Both starting pitchers were finally pulled eighteenth. Freitas was replaced by Paul Derringer, while Dizzy was replaced with a pinch hitter by the name of Pat Crawford, who scored an all important run, as the Birds plated the last two runs of the ballgame on RBI's by Jack Rothrock and Frankie Frisch. Once again it looked liked it was going to be put in the books, but the man who relieved Dizzy, Jim Lindsey, got himself into a bases loaded jam, before Medwick made a spectacular play in the outfield, stealing what looked like a sure hit that essentially stole the game, after he snagged a Jim Bottomley drive to lright in front of the scoreboard in left to put an end to the four hours and twenty-six minutes affair. Had the ball gotten by Frisch, it is very likely all three base runners would have scored, and this historic contest would have ended up with the Reds celebrating when it was put in the books.
There really was no time to celebrate. The two teams got ready to play another ballgame in a haste. Frisch went right back to work in the second tilt, belting a two run home run in the first inning, but the Reds tied it in the second, and the sun dropped out of the sky by the end of the fifth. Six hours after the players took to the field that trotted to their respective locker rooms all tied up. The day was over, however, the day belonged to the Dizzy Dean and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CIN/CIN193407011.shtml
Always a little odd to see a box score with batters that had eight plate appearances.