September 11, 1974: The 25-Inning Marathon

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Date: September 11, 1974
Mets starter: Jerry Koosman
Mets: 3
Cardinals: 4
Winning pitcher: Sonny Siebert
Key player(s): Cleon Jones, Ken Reitz, Bake McBride
Key play: Jones’ home run, Reitz’s home run, Mets’ errors in 25th

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Wednesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams battled each other in a 25-inning game that lasted seven hours and four minutes. The Cards’ Bake McBride scored on an errant pickoff throw that gave St. Louis a 4-3 win over the Mets.

With one out in the top of the first, Ted Sizemore and Reggie Smith drew back-to-back walks against Mets’ starter Jerry Koosman. An ensuing single by Joe Torre scored Sizemore for a 1-0 Redbirds lead. Koosman got Ted Simmons to hit a ground ball to second baseman Felix Millan for a double play to end the inning. Millan reached on an error by shortstop Mike Tyson with one out in the bottom half. Cleon Jones hit a force play grounder to second baseman Sizemore and moved to second on a wild pitch. John Milner hit a double to bring home Jones and tie the game. A passed ball by catcher Simmons moved Milner to third base and Wayne Garrett drew a walk. St. Louis starter Bob Forsch then retired Dave Schneck on a fly ball to left fielder Lou Brock to close out the inning.

Koosman and Forsch each pitched scoreless ball from the second inning to the fourth. The Cardinals were shut down by Koosman again in the top of the fifth and Millan singled to open the bottom half. Jones followed with a home run to give the Mets a 3-1 lead. Milner grounded out to first baseman Torre and a strikeout of Garrett ensued. Schneck was retired on a grounder to Torre for the third out and Koosman pitched a perfect top of the sixth. Forsch then shut down the Mets in the bottom of the inning.

Simmons drew a walk to open the top of the seventh. McBride singled to send Simmons to third base and advanced to second on an error by center fielder Schneck. Ken Reitz fouled out to catcher Duffy Dyer and a strikeout of Tyson followed. Koosman fanned pinch-hitter Luis Melendez to finish off the inning and Cards’ reliever Mike Garman pitched a perfect bottom half. Koosman retired the Redbirds 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth. Garman then set down the Mets in order once again in the bottom of the inning.

Torre went down on strikes to begin the top of the ninth. Simmons singled and a wild pitch sent pinch-runner Larry Herndon to second base. McBride took a called third strike for the inning’s second out. Reitz hit a two-run homer to tie the game and Tyson was hit by a pitch. Koosman got pinch-hitter Ron Hunt on a fly ball to right fielder Schneck (who had shifted from center) for the final out of the inning. St. Louis reliever Al Hrabosky then hurled a perfect bottom half to send the game onward.

Mets’ reliever Harry Parker yielded only a single to Brock in the top of the 10th. Millan got a one-out single in the bottom of the inning. Jones was struck out and Milner singled to send Millan to third base. Garrett grounded out to Torre to close out the inning. With two outs in the top of the 11th, McBride singled and stole second. Parker retired Reitz on an inning-ending fly ball to Schneck. Hrabosky set down the Mets in order in the bottom half and Parker hurled a scoreless top of the 12th. Millan and Jones got back-to-back singles against Cards’ reliever Rich Folkers with two outs in the bottom half. Folkers then fanned Milner for the third out of the inning.

For the Mets, reliever Bob Miller struck out Smith to open the top of the 13th. Torre drew a walk and pinch-hitter Richie Scheinblum flied out to left fielder Jones. McBride followed with a single on which Torre tried to score. Jones made a throw to third baseman Garrett, who threw to Dyer for an out at home on Torre that closed out the inning. Schneck doubled with one out in the bottom half. Don Hahn was walked intentionally and Dyer flied out to center fielder McBride. Folkers then retired pinch-hitter George Theodore on a ground ball to shortstop Jack Heidemann to end the inning.

Mets’ reliever Bob Apodaca gave up only a single to Heidemann in a scoreless top of the 14th. Bud Harrelson drew a walk against the Redbirds’ Ray Bare to begin the bottom half. A sacrifice bunt by Millan advanced Harrelson to second base and Jones was walked intentionally by St. Louis reliever Claude Osteen. Milner was retired on a pop-up to Sizemore. Garrett followed with a grounder to Torre for the inning’s final out and Apodaca hurled a perfect top of the 15th. Osteen set down all three New York hitters in the bottom half and Dick Billings singled to lead off the top of the 16th. McBride’s sacrifice bunt sent Billings to second and an intentional walk to Reitz followed. Apodaca got Osteen to fly out to Jones and fanned Heidemann to finish off the inning. The Mets were then retired in order by Osteen in the bottom half.

To begin the top of the 17th inning, Mets’ reliever Jerry Cram recorded a strikeout of Brock. Sizemore hit a single and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Smith was given an intentional walk and Torre followed with a force play ground ball to shortstop Garrett (who had shifted from third.) Billings hit a force play grounder to Millan for the third out and the Mets were limited to a leadoff single by Jones in the bottom of the inning. Cram set down the Redbirds 1-2-3 in the top of the 18th. Osteen then gave up just a single to Cram in the bottom half.

Heidemann hit a leadoff single in the top of the 19th inning. Brock was called out on strikes and Sizemore followed with a ground ball to Garrett for an inning-ending double play. Osteen hurled a perfect bottom half and a single by Smith began the top of the 20th. Torre reached when Dyer was called for catcher’s interference. With Billings at bat, Smith was caught at second base on a pickoff throw by Dyer to Garrett. Cram retired Billings on a fly ball to Schneck and got McBride to ground out to Garrett and end the inning. Osteen then set down the Mets on three consecutive infield grounders in the bottom half.

The Cardinals were held to a single by Reitz in the top of the 21st inning. Osteen retired all three Mets batters in the bottom half and Cram set down the side in order in the top of the 22nd. Millan singled for his fourth hit of the game to open the bottom of the inning. A sacrifice bunt by Jones moved Felix to second base and Milner was given an intentional walk. Garrett was retired on a fly ball to left fielder Danny Godby. Osteen struck out Schneck to close out the inning. Cram then shut down the Cards in the top of the 23rd.

Dyer got a one-out single in the bottom of the 23rd inning. Cram reached on an error by Osteen to advance pinch-runner Bruce Boisclair (making his major league debut) to second base. Ken Boswell hit a line drive to Torre for the second out and St. Louis reliever Sonny Siebert issued a walk to Millan that loaded the bases. Siebert then retired Jones on a fly ball to Godby to finish off the inning.

Heidemann singled to lead off the top of the 24th. Godby popped out to first baseman Milner and a ground out by Sizemore to third baseman Boswell sent Heidemann to second. Smith was walked intentionally and Torre got an infield single to load the bases with Redbirds. Cram got Billings to hit a force play grounder to Boswell for the inning’s final out and Schneck doubled with two outs in the bottom half. Pinch-hitter Jim Gosger was given an intentional walk and Ron Hodges drew a walk that loaded the bases for the Mets. Siebert then retired pinch-hitter Rusty Staub on a ground ball back to the mound to end the inning.

McBride opened the top of the 25th with an infield single against Mets’ reliever Hank Webb. With Reitz at bat, Webb attempted a pickoff throw that got past Milner. On the play, McBride came all the way around to score and put the Cardinals ahead by a run. Webb followed up by retiring Reitz on a grounder to Boswell and striking out Siebert. Hank then got Heidemann to ground out to Garrett and finish off the inning.

Boswell flied out to right fielder Smith to begin the bottom of the 25th. Millan flied out to Godby and a single by pinch-hitter Brock Pemberton ensued. Siebert then struck out Milner to finally bring the game to an end. The Mets had gone down to defeat after more then seven hours of baseball.

Notes

  • The home run by Jones was the 93rd and last of his major league career.
  • A total of 50 players were used in the game – 26 by the Cardinals and 24 by the Mets.
  • The teams combined for 175 at bats and 202 plate appearances in the game.
  • Schneck tied a single-game major league record with 11 at bats. Dave also shifted back to center field in the 25th inning.
  • Pemberton's single in the 25th was the first of his four career major league hits.