What is the longest baseball game ever? While MLB games today are the shortest in decades, there is nothing fans at the ballpark love more than free baseball. From the World Series and MLB playoffs to the archives of MLB history, some of the longest games ever took things to the extreme.
There isn’t a simple answer to the question, how long is an MLB game? Baseball is played without a clock. If both pitchers go three-up and three-down, an inning can last for just a few moments. If both teams pile up the runs, it can last far longer. The longest MLB inning occurred on May 8, 2004, when the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers combined for 18 runs in a 5th inning that lasted 68 minutes.
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We’ll take a deep dive into the record books, looking at the longest baseball game ever throughout the MLB season, MLB postseason and even college baseball.
How long does an MLB game usually last? Average game length in 2023
The average MLB game in 2023 lasts 2 hours and 39 minutes. It’s a dramatic improvement from previous seasons when the average MLB game length extended beyond three hours. Credit for the reduced time goes to the league for introducing the pitch clock, eliminating downtime and finding ways to speed up games.
With MLB game length down to 2 hours and 28 minutes this season, it makes the first time since 2015 that the average length of a baseball game in MLB was under three hours. Furthermore, the 2:38 time is the shortest average duration for an MLB game since 1980-’81.
Average length of MLB games by year
- 2023: 2 hours, 39 minutes
- 2022: 3 hours, 3 minutes
- 2021: 3 hours, 11 minutes
- 2020: 3 hours, 6 minutes
- 2019: 3 hours, 10 minutes
- 2018: 3 hours, 4 minutes
- 2017: 3 hours, 8 minutes
- 2016: 3 hours, 4 minutes
Longest baseball game this year
The longest baseball game in 2023 happened on May 16, when the Oakland Athletics and Arizona Diamondbacks played a 12-inning contest that lasted 4 hours and 9 minutes. It’s the only MLB game this season to last 4 hours or more. Only two games have extended beyond 3 hours and 50 minutes through the first two months of the season.
Longest MLB game in 2023
- Diamondbacks vs Athletics – May 16 – 4 hours, 9 minutes – 12 innings
- Tigers vs Giants – April 14 – 3 hours, 50 minutes – 11 innings
- Cubs vs Marlins – May 7 – 3 hours, 49 minutes – 14 innings
- Mariners vs Guardians – April 9 – 3 hours, 48 minutes – 12 innings
- Dodgers vs Twins – May 15 – 3 hours, 48 minutes – 12 innings
- Padres vs Giants – April 29 – 3 hours, 44 minutes – 9 innings
What is the longest MLB game ever?
1. Brooklyn Robins 1, Boston Braves 1 on May 1, 1920 – 26 innings
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the longest MLB game ever happened decades ago. The record goes all the way back to May 1, 1920, a meeting between the Brooklyn Robins and Boston Braves. On that historical date, neither team could do much at the plate.
Brooklyn jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 5th inning, thanks to a leadoff walk that turned into a runner on second with one out after a botched double play. A few moments later, Ivy Olson dropped in an RBI single for the first run of the game. An RBI single in the bottom of the 6th inning tied it, those would be the last runs scored in a game that started during the day.
Leon Cadore and Joe Oeschger both pitched the entire 26-inning game and likely could have gone back out for the 27th inning. When the night sky arrived at Braves Field, darkness brought a 20-inning scoreless stretch to a halt.
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2. Chicago White Sox 7, Milwaukee Brewers 6 on May 8, 1984 – 25 innings
There is a tie for the second-longest game in MLB history and both occurred just a decade apart. The Chicago White Sox faced the Milwaukee Brewers in an early 1984 season matchup. Both teams were tied 3-3 after 18 innings as the clock struck 1 a.m. The game was postponed, resumed the next day and both teams tacked on 3 runs in the 21st inning. Finally, a walk-off in the 25th sealed the longest baseball game ever (duration) at 8 hours and 6 minutes.
3. St. Louis Cardinals 4, New York Mets 3 on Sept. 11, 1974 – 25 innings
When examining the candidates for the longest baseball game ever, you’ll notice a trend. In this Sept. 11 meeting between the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets, both teams went 14 innings without scoring a single run. This 1974 night game started on a Wednesday night at Shea Stadium and mercifully ended at 3:13 a.m. EST on Thursday, a 7-hour pitcher’s duel that is recognized as the longest MLB game ever without a delay or postponement.
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4. Houston Astros 1, New York Mets 0 on April 15, 1968 – 24 innings
In what can only be described as two of the best pitching performances by MLB teams in the same game, the Mets and Houston Astros went 23 innings without scoring a single run. Tom Seaver (10 innings, 2 hits) and Don Wilson (9 innings, 5 hits) threw gems and both starters had hours to ride the bench after they were pulled before this game mercifully ended on an RBI grounder that went underneath the infielder’s legs. When the lone run touched home, a 6-hour and 6-minute game ended.
5. Detroit Tigers 1, Philadelphia Athletics 1 on July 21, 1945 – 24 innings
We’ve got to give credit to the Tigers and Philadelphia Athletics. While a 24-inning game is a grind, they somehow got through it in under 5 hours. Tigers’ starting pitcher Les Mueller covered 19.2 innings, allowing one unearned run. On the other side, Russ Christopher (13 innings) and Joe Berry (11 innings) split the workload for Philadelphia.
6. Philadelphia Athletics 4, Boston Americans 1 on Sept. 1, 1906 – 24 innings
Incredibly, per MLB.com, Athletics’ manager Connie Mack served as skipper in two of the longest MLB games ever. The A’s opened the score in the 3rd inning and were then held scoreless for 21 innings. Yet, they still won.
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Heading into the 2022 MLB season, there have been just eight Major League games that went 23-plus innings. During that same stretch, nine games ended after reaching the 22-inning milestone.
Longest baseball game ever – 9 innings
- New York Yankees 14, Boston Red Sox 11 on Aug. 18, 2006 – 4 hours, 45 minutes
- Arizona Diamondbacks 10, Colorado Rockies 9 on June 24, 2016 – 4 hours, 30 minutes
Longest baseball game in MLB playoffs history
San Francisco Giants 2, Washington Nationals 1 – 18 innings – Oct. 4, 2014 – 6 hours, 23 minutes
While the longest baseball game ever and its closest challengers trace back decades, things are a lot different in October. Many baseball fans will remember the one of the longest MLB playoff games ever because it happened in 2014.
On Oct. 4, the Washington Nationals hosted the San Francisco Giants in Game 2 of the National League Division Series. Washington held a 1-0 lead until the 9th inning, with a game-tying RBI double by Pablo Sandoval. Both teams were held scoreless until the 18th inning. After 6 hours, Brandon Belt uncorked a 3-2 pitch into the bleachers. Hunter Strickland secured the save and San Francisco celebrated its Game 2 victory after 6 hours and 23 minutes of baseball.
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Houston Astros vs Seattle Mariners
The 2022 MLB playoffs have now delivered two of the longest playoff baseball games ever. Game 3 of the American League Division Series between the Houston Astros vs Seattle Mariners went 15 consecutive innings without a single run being scored. During that 15-inning stretch, the Astros and Mariners combined for 37 strikeouts and 14 combined hits with only three walks. It became the first MLB playoff game to go 15 scoreless innings.
After 16 scoreless innings, the Astros vs Mariners game now holds. the MLB record for most strikeouts in a playoff game with 41. Both teams have been extremely aggressive, helping set the historic pace. Of note, the most combined strikeouts in an MLB game happened on Nay 7, 2017 when the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs combined for 48 strikeouts across 18 innings. This is the second game in MLB playoff history to reach the 6-hour mark and the third to last at least 18 innings.
On the sixth pitch of the 18th inning, rookie shortstop Jeremy Pena drilled a go-ahead solo blast to center field off right-handed pitcher Penn Murfee to end the scoreless drought. The single run proved to be all Houston needed with Luis Garcia (5 shutout innings) closing the door in the 18th inning for the victory that sent Houston to the ALCS. Incredibly, it fell two minutes shy of being the longest playoff game ever.
Longest MLB postseason games ever
- San Francisco Giants 2, Washington Nationals 1 on Oct. 4, 2014 – 6 hours, 23 minutes
- Houston Astros vs Seattle Mariners on Oct. 15, 2022 – 18, 6 hours and 22 minutes
- Houston Astros 7, Atlanta Braves 6 on Oct. 9, 2005 – 18 innings, 5 hours and 50 minutes
- New York Mets 7, Houston Astros 6 on Oct. 15, 1986 – 16 innings, 4 hours and 42 minutes
- New York Mets 4, Atlanta Braves 3 on Oct. 17, 1999 – 15 innings, 5 hours and 46 minutes
- New York Yankees 7, Seattle Mariners 5 on Oct. 4, 1995 – 15 innings, 5 hours and 12 minutes
- Texas Rangers 6, Toronto Blue Jays 4 on Oct. 9, 2015 – 14 innings, 4 hours and 57 minutes
- Cleveland Guardians 1, Tampa Bay Rays 0 on Oct. 8, 2022 – 15 innings, 4 hours and 57 minutes
Tampa Bay Rays vs Cleveland Guardians
Game 2 of the American League Wild Card Series between the Tampa Bay Rays vs Cleveland Guardians will go down as one of the longest MLB playoff games ever. It also achieved its own place in history, becoming the first postseason game ever that went scoreless through the first 14 innings.
A walk-off home run by Guardians’ outfielder Oscar Gonzale in the 15th inning prevented this from becoming the longest playoff game ever. However, the series-clinching blast to send Cleveland to the American League Division Series officially ended things with a game time of 4 hours and 57 minutes.
Longest MLB game in 2022
The Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Guardians played the longest MLB game in 2022 on September 17. The game lasted 5 hours and 24 minutes across 15 innings, with Cleveland finally winning after Austin Hedges scored on a fielding error at first base. Incredibly, this was on the day of a doubleheader between the two clubs. Just a few hours earlier, the Guardians beat Minnesota 5-1 in a game that lasted 2 hours and 32 minutes. Combined, the Twins vs Guardians doubleheader on Sep. 17 last for 7 hours and 56 minutes with 25 innings of baseball played.
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MLB game length in 2022
In recent years, Major League Baseball has put an emphasis on speeding up games. There is still a lot of work to be done with pitch clocks, fewer pitching changes and more adaptations on the way in the future. For now, there seem to be some signs of progress, per Baseball-Reference.
The goal for MLB is to decrease the average length of games to under three hours. It’s likely years away from happening, but it’s achievable considering the average game length was under three hours as late as 2011.
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While new MLB rules to shorten games aren’t taking place until 2023, minor changes and an emphasis on speeding up the tempo of games had an influence. The average MLB game in 2022 last 3 hours, 3 minutes and 44 seconds which is down significantly from the average in 2021 and an improvement over the average game time dating back to 2016.
As for the longest MLB game ever, there’s more on that below.
What is the longest World Series game ever?
The Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers provided plenty of memorable moments in the 2018 World Series. One night everyone remembers is Oct. 26, when the Red Sox and Dodgers delivered the longest baseball game ever in World Series history.
Tied 1-1 going into extras, an RBI single by Eduardo Nunez broke the tie in the 13th inning. However, Yasiel Puig stole Boston’s hope with a two-out RBI single off Nathan Eovaldi in the bottom of the frame. In the 15th, everyone in Dodger Stadium thought Max Muncy hit the walk-off blast but it was foul. Muncy got his second chance, sending the baseball just over the wall to end it after 7 hours and 20 minutes. Thank goodness this game was played in California and not on the East Coast.
Longest baseball game ever – World Series history
- Kansas City Royals 5, New York Mets 4 on Oct. 27, 2015 – 14 innings, 5 hours and 9 minutes
- Chicago White Sox 7, Houston Astros 5 on Oct. 25, 2005 – 14 innings, 5 hours and 41 minutes
Longest baseball game ever in college
The longest college baseball game ever happened fairly recently. On May 30, 2009, the Texas Longhorns beat the Boston College Eagles 3-2. It lasted 7 hours and 3 minutes across 25 innings, setting the NCAA record for longest baseball game ever in both duration and innings.
Here are the other longest college baseball games ever.
- College of Charleston 3, William & Mary 2 on May 16, 2014 – 23 innings, 6 hours and 3 minutes
- UL Lafayette 6, McNeese State 5 on March 27, 1971 – 23 innings, unknown duration
- TCU 3, Sam Houston State 2 on May 31, 2014 – 22 innings, 6 hours and 54 minutes
- Fresno State 3, San Diego 2 on march 26, 2011 – 22 innings, 7 hours and 12 minutes
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What is the longest at bat in MLB history?
Ironically, the player responsible for ending one of the longest playoff games ever is also te man credited with the longest at-bat ever. Brandon Belt saw 21 pitches from Los Angeles Angels pitcher Jaime Barria on April 22, 2018. The ordeal lasted 13 minutes, with Belt and Barria going back and forth thanks to countless fouls. Finally, he flew out to right field for the out.
The longest baseball game in 2023 happened on May 16, when the Oakland Athletics and Arizona Diamondbacks played a 12-inning contest that lasted 4 hours and 9 minutes. It's the only MLB game this season to last 4 hours or more.How long was the longest MLB game ever? ›
Longest MLB game ever
The longest game in Major League history went on for a whopping 26 innings. The Brooklyn Robins vs. the Boston Braves game on May 1, 1920, took almost four hours. Today, we know the Robins by a different name – the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Before Saturday's play began, the Cleveland Guardians had played the shortest average MLB game in 2023. On average, it took a game involving the Guardians two hours and 33 minutes to complete.What is the average length of MLB game history? ›
There were 2,429 matches which included 208 extra innings. The average length of a game was three hours and six minutes.What is the longest baseball game in the last 10 years? ›
Longest MLB Game in the last 10 years is the game between Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. The match lasted 6 hours and 49 minutes. The baseball game is played with a variable time depending upon the longevity of the gameplay. If the higher runs are made by both teams, the game can last longer than expected.What is the 2 longest MLB game? ›
The Mets, it seems, have a penchant for playing in historically long games. Six years before they played 25 innings in Flushing, they played 24 against the Astros in Houston. Incredibly, the game was scoreless until the bottom of the 24th, the longest any Major League game has ever stayed scoreless.What is the longest MLB game with no hits? ›
On May 2, 1917, a game between the Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds reached the end of nine innings in a hitless scoreless tie, the only time in baseball history that neither team has had a hit in regulation. Both Hippo Vaughn of the Cubs and Fred Toney of the Reds continued pitching into the tenth inning.What is the longest lasting baseball game? ›
CHANG: After eight hours and 32 innings, the game still wasn't over. The teams would have to wait two months before finishing. And when they finally resumed play, instead of 19 fans in the stands, there were nearly 6,000, with reporters from around the world to watch the end of the longest game in history.What is the fastest 9 inning game in MLB history? ›
There was once a time when baseball players and teams were more than happy to get through nine innings as quickly as possible. The shortest professional baseball game ever played—a minor league showdown between the Asheville Tourists and the Winston-Salem Twins in 1916—reportedly took a whopping 31 minutes to complete.
The 2019 season marks the third straight year the Red Sox have averaged the longest games in Major League Baseball (tied with Dodgers in '18). They lead the American League for a fourth straight season.Why is MLB game so long? ›
Hits, walks, and hit by pitch have stayed quite steady. On average, strikeouts take 1.5 pitches more than other kinds of out, so this trade of strikeouts for outs on balls in play will also add time to the game. In fact, all of the factors point in the same direction of contributing to increasing game length.When was last MLB game under 2 hours? ›
Saturday's 2:04 game was MLB's fastest thus far in 2023. And it was Cleveland's fastest game since May 18, 2011 (two hours, one minute).What is the longest game ever? ›
According to HLTB, the crown for longest overall video game belongs to Melvor Idle, a Runescape-inspired idle/incremental game with an estimated playtime of 3,126 hours. On the other end of the spectrum lies Trivia Vault: Super Heroes Trivia with an estimated playtime of 1 minute and 12 seconds.What is the most extra innings in MLB history? ›
Major League Baseball. The longest game by innings in Major League Baseball was a 1–1 tie in the National League between the Boston Braves and the Brooklyn Robins in 26 innings, at Braves Field in Boston on May 1, 1920.What is the most scoreless innings in a game? ›
The 1968 Chicago Cubs and 1906 Philadelphia Athletics share the Major League record for consecutive scoreless innings with 48 in a row.What is the longest 0 0 MLB playoff game? ›
Oct 15 update: The Mariners and Astros ended up playing 18 innings of baseball. Houston won the game 1-0. The 0-0 score through 17 innings made it the longest scoreless game in MLB postseason history.Can a baseball game end in the 7th inning? ›
4-2-2 The game ends when the team behind in score has completed its turn at bat in the seventh inning, or any inning thereafter if extra innings are necessary. If the home team scores a go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh inning, or in any extra inning, the game is terminated at that point.What is the most stolen base? ›
Rickey Henderson holds the MLB career stolen base record with 1,406.Can a MLB game end in a tie? ›
If the game is tied after both teams have made 27 outs each, the game will go to extra innings. It will continue until the home team takes the lead at any point, or the visiting team takes the lead and the home team subsequently makes three outs without tying the game or going ahead.
The Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings, two teams from the Triple-A International League, played the longest game in professional baseball history. It lasted 33 innings, with 8 hours and 25 minutes of playing time.What was the shortest nine inning game? ›
At the end of the 1919 season, two teams from these cities that love to hate one another came together for a game that has no equal. On September 28, the Giants and Phillies played the fastest nine-inning game in major-league history.Has there ever been a 20 inning baseball game? ›
On April 17, 2010, it took 20 innings and nearly seven hours in a game that was scoreless through 18. Both sides went a combined 1-for-25 with runners in scoring position. When the Mets finally crossed home plate in both the 19th and 20th innings, it was against Joe Mather, a position player pressed into pitching.Has anyone won an MLB game with no hits? ›
While the vast majority of no-hitters are shutouts, no-hit teams have managed to score runs in their respective games 25 times. Seven times a team has been no-hit and still won the game: two notable victories occurred when the Cincinnati Reds defeated the Houston Colt .What is the longest MLB game without a rain delay? ›
This 1974 night game started on a Wednesday night at Shea Stadium and mercifully ended at 3:13 a.m. EST on Thursday, a 7-hour pitcher's duel that is recognized as the longest MLB game ever without a delay or postponement.What is the longest rain delay in MLB history? ›
The longest rain delay in MLB history appears to be 7 hours and 23 minutes. White Sox and Rangers in Chicago on Aug. 12, 1990. The game was ultimately postponed.Has a pitcher ever played 9 innings? ›
That's a true rarity these days, indeed. The Major Leagues used to see starters record outs past the ninth inning upwards of 150 times per season in the 1910s, and it still happened between 40 and 50 times in several years during the 1980s.What is fastest baseball pitch? ›
Jhoan Duran just popped the first 104 of the season on the radar gun.
Charles Henry "Red" Barrett (February 14, 1915 – July 28, 1990) was a Major League Baseball pitcher who played 11 total career seasons in the National League. He played for the Cincinnati Reds, Boston Braves and St. Louis Cardinals. He pitched the shortest complete game by fewest pitches (58) in history.How many MLB players have over 700 hours? ›
Barry Bonds holds the Major League Baseball home run record with 762. He passed Hank Aaron, who hit 755, on August 7, 2007. The only other players to have hit 700 or more are Babe Ruth with 714, and Albert Pujols with 703.
The Houston Astros' Minute Maid Park has the farthest outfield wall in MLB. The field's center field (straightaway) wall is 435 feet from home plate.What current MLB player has played the longest career? ›
With extra-inning games excluded, the average game time this season is still shorter than in any season since 1984—and the standard deviation of game time is smaller than in any season since 1933. The bulk of baseball games' newfound uniformity, then, comes from the clock.Why are they trying to shorten baseball games? ›
The hope is that if they're shorter, they'll attract more fans to the ballpark, TV and streaming. Baseball games are slow, said Stefan Szymanski, a professor of sport management at the University of Michigan. “The batters spend a lot of time hanging around when they come up to bat.Why are MLB games getting shorter? ›
The pitch timer is working exactly as intended in the early going of the new season. There is less downtime between pitches and the game flows much better, and, as a result, games are shorter. On average, they're 25 minutes shorter than last season.What is the quickest MLB game? ›
The shortest game in MLB history came in 1919 when the New York Giants and Philadelphia Phillies recorded 51 outs in just 51 minutes.How early can an MLB game end? ›
A baseball game last nine innings, or eight and a half if the home team leads after the top of the ninth. If a game is tied after the ninth inning, it goes on into indefinite extra innings until a team leads at the end of an inning. Games can occasionally end earlier than nine innings in the case of weather delays.What is the longest playoff game in MLB history? ›
- T-1. 2005 NLDS Game 4 (Astros 7, Braves 6): 18 innings.
- T-1. 2014 NLDS Game 2 (Giants 2, Nationals 1): 18 innings.
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- 1986 NLCS Game 6 (Mets 7, Astros 6): 16 innings.
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Game 3 of the American League Division Series between the Houston Astros vs Seattle Mariners went 15 consecutive innings without a single run being scored. During that 15-inning stretch, the Astros and Mariners combined for 37 strikeouts and 14 combined hits with only three walks.What is the record for the most innings in a MLB game? ›
Major League Baseball. The longest game by innings in Major League Baseball was a 1–1 tie in the National League between the Boston Braves and the Brooklyn Robins in 26 innings, at Braves Field in Boston on May 1, 1920.What was the longest 9 inning game in MLB history? ›
Wednesday's marathon at Progressive Field was the longest nine-inning game ever played, topping a four-hour, 45-minute epic between the Red Sox and Yankees (who else?) staged at Fenway Park on August 18, 2006.