1913: Jack Ferry and Joe Lake Pitch 18 Inning Marathons

Two of the longest single-game pitching performances ever hurled in the American Association’s long history took place during the dramatic 1913 season.

July 16, 1913, Milwaukee, Wis.: In the longest single-game performances by a pitcher ever in the American Association, Jack Ferry of the third-place Columbus Senators takes the extended contest into the 19th inning but finally succumbs to the league-leading Milwaukee Brewers at Milwaukee’s Athletic Park. According to the report in Sporting Life magazine dated July 26, 1913:

The longest game staged thus far this season in the larger base ball leagues was played by Milwaukee and Columbus, who struggled 19 innings. Milwaukee won. It was the longest game ever played in the American Association and was full of thrills through the three hours and 45 minutes it lasted. Jack Ferry pitched the whole game for Columbus and although Milwaukee made 18 hits off him, he passed only three men and struck out only two batters. Milwaukee made five of its runs in the first nine innings, after tying the score with two gone in the ninth. Then another complete set of nine innings was played without a run, Milwaukee winning in the last half of the nineteenth with three singles in a row.

The winning pitcher for the Brewers was Iowa native Cy Slapnicka who was the fourth Milwaukee slab artist to take the hill en route to the Sudsmen’s 57th victory of the season against 36 losses. Starter Joe Hovlik, a native of Czechoslovakia, lasted only two rounds while giving up five hits. He was relieved by little Ralph Cutting, a New Hampshire dairy farmer. Alfred Braun relieved Cutting after a four-inning outing, then lasted the longest of any Brewer pitcher that day seven frames under his belt.

Slapnicka would lead the league with 25 wins by season’s end to lead the league, finishing up with a record of 25-14 in an astounding 321 innings of work.

Ferry, a 26-year-old Massachusetts native who attended Seton Hall University, was surely spent after this debacle. He went on to win 14 games against 12 losses for the Senators in 1913.

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September 17, 1913, Minneapolis, Minn.: Minneapolis Miller righty Joe Lake, a 32-year-old native of Brooklyn, New York, took the hill today for the second place Millers and occupied the slab for 18 entire innings against the Columbus Senators before the game was called a draw, 1-1. Despite the tie, Minneapolis moved into the American Association lead as Milwaukee dropped a double billing to Indianapolis. Ironically, Columbus was involved in an earlier marathon in Milwaukee with Jack Ferry going the extra mile. Ferry was again involved, again doing double duty. In this drawn out affair, Ferry relieved Columbus starter Fred Cook, the elder statesman of the staff at 31, after four innings.

Columbus started out the scoring with a run in the first inning. The Millers then posted a lone tally in the sixth. All told the locals out-hit the visiting Senators 14-10.

Lake was a recent acquisition from Detroit where he posted a record of 8-7 before coming on board with Pongo Joe Cantillon‘s crew to help them in the pennant chase.

The game lasted two hours, 50 minutes.