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This day in sports: Marathon minor league game in 1981 keeps going and going

Cal Ripken Jr. watches an RBI single in 2000 with the Orioles.
Cal Ripken Jr., shown in 2000 with the Baltimore Orioles, played in the 33-inning minor league game in 1981 that is the longest in professional baseball history.
(David Maxwell / AFP via Getty Images)

A minor league game in the International League turned into the longest night in professional baseball history when the visiting Rochester Red Wings and the Pawtucket Red Sox played 32 innings to a 2-2 tie. The game was called at 4:07 a.m. on this date in 1981 and rescheduled for Rochester’s next visit to Pawtucket’s McCoy Stadium.

Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken Jr. were among several future major league players in the lineups for the marathon game — Boggs for Boston’s affiliate Pawtucket and Ripken for Baltimore’s Rochester.

When the game resumed June 23, Dave Koza’s single drove in the winning run in the bottom of the 33rd inning for Pawtucket. Bobby Ojeda was the winning pitcher.

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Before the baseball season was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dodgers and the Angels had Sunday day games scheduled against the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Houston Astros, respectively.

Here is a look at memorable games and outstanding sports performances on this date:

1938 — Emmett Mueller of the Phillies and Ernie Koy of the visiting Dodgers each hit home runs in their first big league at-bats in a game won by Brooklyn 12-5. Both home runs come in the first inning. Koy connects off Wayne LeMaster, and Mueller drives a pitch from Van Lingo Mungo.

1947 — The Toronto Maple Leafs post a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens to take the Stanley Cup in six games. It is the first NHL final series matching two teams from Canada since 1935 when the since-folded Montreal Maroons defeated the Maple Leafs.

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1965 — The Boston Celtics have five players score 20 or more points in a 129-123 win over the Lakers in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. It’s the first time there are five 20-point scorers on one team in a Finals game. John Havlicek leads Boston with 24 points, Tom Sanders and Bill Russell each score 23, Tommy Heinsohn adds 22 and Sam Jones finishes with 20. Jerry West is the top scorer for the Lakers with 45, and Dick Barnett has 26.

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1986 — Michael Spinks survives near knockdowns in the 14th and 15th rounds to win a split decision over Larry Holmes and retains his world heavyweight title in Las Vegas. Holmes, 36, buckles Spinks’ knees, but the champion spends the final seconds dancing out of trouble.

1991 — In what is billed as the “Battle of the Ages,” Evander Holyfield, 28, keeps his heavyweight title with a unanimous 12-round decision over 42-year-old challenger George Foreman in a slugfest at Atlantic City, N.J. Holyfield appears to be the more exhausted fighter during the last two rounds and has to hang on to get to the final bell.

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1993 — Kenya’s Cosmas N’deti, running in his second marathon, comes from behind and beats Kim Jae-Yong of South Korea by 10 seconds to win the Boston Marathon with a time of 2:09:33. He is the fifth African in six years to cross the finish line first. Olga Markova of Russia defends her title with a time of 2:25:27.

Loyola Marymount asked Los Angeles residents to name their favorite athlete and favorite team. Who finished just behind LeBron James and the Lakers?

1998 — Chicago’s Michael Jordan scores 44 points to lead the Bulls over the New York Knicks 111-109 in the final game of the regular season, notching his record 10th NBA scoring title with a 28.7 points-per-game average. Jordan spends much of the game at the free-throw line, making 22 of 24.

2009 — Rafael Nadal overpowers Novak Djokovic in the third set to become the first player to win five straight Monte Carlo Masters titles, 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 at Monaco. The top-ranked Spaniard, however, loses a set at the clay-court tournament for the first time since the 2006 final against Roger Federer.

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2010 — Kenya’s Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot wins the Boston Marathon, breaking the course record by 82 seconds in 2:05:52. Ethiopia’s Teyba Erkesso wins the women’s race in 2:26:11, out-sprinting Russia’s Tatyana Pushkareva at the finish.

Sources: The Times, Associated Press


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