|The Mets and Braves played an iconic game in 1985.|
I remember watching this game on TV as it stretched on toward four hours, an almost unheard of length at the time, even for a 12-inning game. I was pulling for the Sox (I always thought the Big Red Machine was more hype than substance) and was trying to will Fisk's ball fair from my bedroom in a Milwaukee suburb.
I have no quibble with this choice or most of the others on MLB's list of the top 20 games. I wonder, though, if there weren't games from before 1975 that deserved inclusion. It's also interesting that all but one of the games on the list are from the postseason (the 50-year cutoff left Bill Mazeroski's walk-off home run to give the Pittsburgh Pirates the title over the New York Yankees in 1960 out in the cold).
There are two regular season games that stick out in my mind. One was the Fourth of July 1985 contest between the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets. Thanks to TBS, which at the time beamed nearly every one of the team's games to a national audience I was able to watch it till the wee hours.
This game had everything: It lasted 19 innings, Keith Hernandez hit for the cycle, pitcher Rick Camp hit the only home run of his career to tie the game in the 18th inning, and that same pitcher was at the plate as the tying run when the game ended.
I was neither a Braves nor a Mets fan, but these teams put on a show that deserves recognition on any list of greatest games.
Another game I'd put on the list was one pitched by Gaylord Perry. It was April 17, 1974 and Perry was pitching for the Indians in Milwaukee. My brother took me to the game and we sat behind home plate. A perfect view for what was to unfold.
Perry stayed on the mound for 15 innings for Cleveland. The Brewers scored two in the eighth and two more in the ninth to tie the game. Perry pitched on. When he finally departed after 15, the Brewers pushed across the winning run in the 16th to take a 5-4 victory. Amazingly, the teams combined to use only six pitchers and game was finished in less than 4 hours. It was truly a different era.
One personal note: I was keeping score as I always did back then. As the game wore on I realized I was running out of space for new innings. A nearby fan was nice enough to tear the scorecard portion out of her program so a teenager could complete the task. I might have to dig through some boxes to see if it survived several moves and purges over the years.
These games are burned in my memory. I am sure there are games you remember. Please leave a comment about them.