Isner Vs. Mahut Wimbledon and the Longest Sports Events in History
Wednesday's Wimbledon action was dominated by the marathon match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut. Their first round match obliterated the previous record for the longest match. The matchup is one of the anomaly moments in sports where in 25 years we will look back and wonder how it happened.
Well, today's Wimbledon marathon got us thinking about the longest sports events in history. Every sport has different rules and regulations as to how long a game can continue, but each of these games tested the perseverance and wherewithal of its competitors to outlast their opponents for the (extremely) hard-earned victory.
"The Longest Game Ever"
One might wonder what was the longest game in baseball history. The answer? A 33-inning affair between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings on April 18, 1981.
The Triple-A teams went to extra innings tied 1-1. Rochester scored in the top of the 21st and appeared to have things in hand. However, a Pawtucket run in the bottom of the inning extended the game well into the night.
Play was suspended at 4:07 a.m. in the 32nd inning after the International League president called a stop to play. There were 19 people in the seats. When the game resumed on June 23rd, the teams barely had any time to get loose before Pawtucket scored in the bottom of the 33rd, 18 minutes after resumption. The game checked in at eight hours, 25 minutes long.
Two future Hall of Famers participated in the game. Cal Ripken went 2-for-13 for Rochester. Wade Boggs went 4-for-12 for Pawtucket.
Chicago White Sox 7 - Milwaukee Brewers 6 (F/25)
The White Sox and Brewers played the longest major league game ever on May 9, 1984. It was not the longest game by innings, but the affair which took two days to complete clocked in at 8:06. Harold Baines stroked the game-winning single in the 25th inning.
1936 Stanley Cup Playoffs
The 1936 Stanley Cup playoff game between the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Maroons on March 24 featured unprecedented length.
The two sides went to overtime at a scoreless tie and remained for another 116 minutes and 30 seconds before Mud Bruneteau gave Detroit 1-0 victory. The game, which officially clocked in two hours and 56 minutes of ice time—just short of playing three consecutive games in a row.
Longest NBA Game Ever
In a game that is often lost in time, on January 6, 1951 the Rochester Royals and Indianapolis Olympians played the longest game in NBA history. The affair took six overtimes before the Olympians captured a 75-73 victory. Yes, even in the shot clock era, a six-overtime game featured a combined 148 points scored.
Syracuse 127 - UConn 117 (6 OT)
It was a Big East Tournament game for the ages. Syracuse needed six overtimes to edge rival UConn to advance. The game needed three hours and 46 minutes of basketball to reach a conclusion.
Cincinnati and Bradley played seven overtimes in 1981 which stands as the record in the NCAA almanac, but that was prior to the shot clock era of college hoops.
Longest Cricket Match
Test cricket is known to take a long time to complete. Well, in 1939 England and South Africa played a test cricket match that last 43 hours, 16 minutes and featured 1,981 runs scored. The match took eight days to complete.
Arkansas Put 7 on the Board - TWICE
In 2001, Arkansas and Ole Miss played a game unlike we've ever seen in college football. The rivals entered the first overtime tied 17-17 and then proceeded to combine for 80 points over the seven overtimes. Arkansas eventually stopped Ole Miss' last two-point conversion opportunity and hung on for a 58-56 victory.
The Razorbacks found themselves in another 7 OT game two years later, this time against Kentucky. Arkansas, experienced in 7 OT games, won the game 71-68.
Texas 3 - Boston College 2 (F/25)
On May 31, 2009 Texas and Boston College hooked up for the longest college baseball game in history. The teams were tied 2-2 after six innings before Texas scratched out the game-winning run nearly five hours later in the 25th inning. The game's running time reached six hours, 58 minutes.
Longest Tennis Match Ever
As of this writing, the first round match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut is at a 59-59 in the fifth set at Wimbledon. The match is nearing 10 hours of play over a two-day span. The pair have combined for 189 aces and over 640 winners. The previous record, from the 2004 French Open, was a "measly" six hours and 33 minutes.