The game was called at the end of the 26th inning due to darkness. Remember folks, that in 1920 there were still no night games since lights had yet to be installed in Baseball fields. Though the game is considered the longest game in MLB history in terms of innings played, the game pales in comparison to today's games in terms of time. The game took only 3:50 for 26-innings to be played. The Yankees/Red Sox matchups can barely finish a game in nine innings in that short amount of time, let alone squeeze in 26-innings.
I love how the article BROOKLYN AND BOSTON BREAK BIG LEAGUE RECORD BY BATTLING FOR TWENTY-SIX INNINGS from the New York Times dated May 2, 1920 described the game in its first paragraph:
The Robins and the Braves celebrated May Day in this ordinarily peaceful city by staging a prolonged, heart-breaking struggle for twenty-six innings at Braves Field and bombing to bits all major league records for duration of hostilities. When darkness drew its mantle over the scene, forbidding further battle, both teams were still on their feet, interlocked in a death clutch and each praying for one more inning in which to get the knockout blow.
As far as results in the chase for the pennant go the game was without effect, for the final score was 1 to 1. In the matter of thrills however, the oldest living man can remember nothing like it, nor can he find anything like it in his granddad's diary worth of comparison. Heart disease was the mildest complaint that grasped the spectators as they watched inning after inning slip away and the row of ciphers on the scoreboard began to slip over the fence and reach out into the Fenway. Nervous prostration threatened to engulf the stands as the twentieth inning passed away in the scoreless routine and the word was passed from the knowing fans to those of inferior baseball erudition that the National League record was twenty-two innings, the Robins having beat the Pirates by 6 to 5 in a game of that length played in Brooklyn on August 22, 1917...
Now the old-timers in the stands began to whisper to each other with tense facos that the big-league record was twenty-four innings, established in an American League game in the Hub on Sept. 1, 1906, on which occasion the Athletics downed the Red Sox by a tally of 4 to 1. The Robins and the Braves didn't care. They didn't even know it. They simply went along in their sublime ignorance and tied this record, then smashed it, and by way of emphasis tacked on a twenty-sixth session.Now that one interesting way to describe this game. There is no way that in today's game we'll see a twenty-six or more inning game, being played in less than four hours WITH both starting pitchers finishing the game. No way. Well, maybe as part of Strat-o-Matic. If any of you out there do it in any gaming platform, let me know.
Until Then Keep Playing Ball,
For Further Reading:
- The Boxscore of the Brooklyn Robins vs. Boston Braves played on May 1, 1920 from Baseball Reference
- 8 Longest MLB Games Ever Played by Matt Reevy from the Sports Cheat Sheet dated April 14, 2015