The long and twisting tale of a marathon win.
White Sox pitcher Wilbur Wood’s career essentially ended when his left kneecap was shattered by a line drive off the bat of future South Sider Ron LeFlore in Detroit. Wood had gotten off to a fine 4-3 start, with five complete games and an ERA of 2.24, when the injury took place.
Wood missed the rest of the 1976 season. Although he came back the following year, Wood was never quite the same.
Harold Baines ended the longest game, innings-wise, in American League history when he blasted a home run off of Milwaukee’s Chuck Porter with one out in the 25th inning to give the Sox a 7-6 win over Milwaukee. The game ended one inning shy of the major league record.
The 8:06 length of the game also set a major league record. Tom Seaver got the win in one inning of relief in the marathon contest, which had started on May 8 and was suspended after 17 innings.
The Brewers thought they had a good chance to put the game away after scoring three runs in the 21st inning, but the White Sox came back with three of their own to extend the game further (pitcher Richard Dotson, pinch-running for the less fleet Marc Hill, scored the tying run in the 21st).
It was the second time the White Sox had tied it up with their backs against the wall, as in the bottom of the ninth a Tom Paciorek two-base error, Julio Cruz double and Rudy Law single forced extras.
Through the many maneuvers of the game, the White Sox lost their DH after the 21st, with Ron Reed and Floyd Bannister forced to hit for themselves, ending the 22nd and 24th innings on ground outs.
The White Sox also missed out on a chance to win in the 23rd inning, as Dave Stegman (whose move from DH to LF in fact was how the White Sox lost the DH in the game) was ruled to have been touched by third base coach Jim Leyland while advancing from first to third on a Paciorek single; Vance Law next singled, which would have driven in the game-winner.
Paciorek set a major league record in the game, subbing into left field for Ron Kittle in the fourth inning and proceeding to get nine at-bats as a sub.
Amazingly, after Seaver’s relief win, he came back out for the regularly-scheduled game later that same evening, winning, 5-4.
For the night, Seaver threw a little more than nine innings, allowing only four hits.
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