Nearly one year ago, I uncovered the Odyssey of the White Sox and the Brewers, or The Longest Baseball Game In The History Of Ever-So-Far. So today on Throwback Thursday, I find it is only fitting to not forget the little guy: the Shortest (9-inning) Baseball Game In The History Of Ever (So Far).
Fourteen-thousand fans were in attendance at the Polo Grounds V in New York City on Sunday May 28, 1919, to see the New York Giants take on the Philadelphia Phillies. Check out baseball-reference for the complete box score of the game.
The winning pitcher, Jesse Barnes took the mound for the Giants for all eight innings, meanwhile Lee Meadows took the loss for Philly and boldly threw through nine.. Both pitchers threw the entire game, took all their at-bats, and even each recorded a hit for his team, withBarnes even recording a run himself.
Despite seven total runs scored- six for the Giants and one for the Phils- eighteen hits, and thirteen men left on base, the game only lasted 51 minutes over nine innings (or, eight innings and the top of the ninth, if you want to get really technical about it).
Picture it this way: a 51-minute game means, on average, six minute innings- far shorter than the time it takes to wait in line for a beer, pay an exorbitant amount of money for said beer, and carry it safely back to your seat, spilling a minimal amount of liquid nectar, and sacrificing the greatest amount of the suds. (NOTE: The time taken navigating across strangers’ laps increases exponentially with each beer that is carried.)
…Which is pretty spectacular when you consider that games on average run for two and a half to three hours, with an average of 20 minutes per inning, and leave you with a moderate amount of time to make multiple overpriced beer purchases.
Perhaps there was great motivation swirling about the field to finish it up nice and early, besides beer sales, and neither so the gents could rush off to dinner at that great home-cookin’ restaurant in Harlem. More likely so because the game was, in fact, the first of a doubleheader at the Polo Grounds that day between the Phillies and the Giants.
Or, it was just a wild fluke.
In contrast to the White Sox-Brewers 25-inning Epic in 1984, the equation of the shortest-ever game in 1919 went down a little like this:
+0 calls to the bullpen
9 innings, 0:51 on the clock.
Final score: Giants 6, Phillies 1.
Before we part, I would like to take a moment to appreciate some of the delightfully original names of the athletes who took the field that day:
-Left fielder for the Phillies, DeWitt “Bevo” LeBourveau
-Right fielder for the Phillies, Emil “Irish” Meusel
-Third baseman for the Giants, Frankie “The Fordham Flash” Frisch
-First baseman for the Giants, George “High Pockets” Kelly
Baseball nicknames are a lost art, my friends.
Do you have a favorite baseball tradition? Is there a particular ghost of baseball past you would like to revisit? Ever wonder why they do what they do, and when they started doing it? If you have a suggestion, question, or submission for Throwback Thursday, contact Elise by tweeting @Elise_Myers.