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.

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Grave Markers for Dan Marion and Dan Lally

Perhaps I am overly sentimental about such things, but as a grave hunter I find it particularly annoying when I stumble upon an unmarked grave. During the past several years of searching out the graves of former American Association players, I’ve been fortunate to have found only a minimum of unmarked graves.

Two such graves are noteworthy, for they lie within the same cemetery, Mount Olivet in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And each plot is located within a few hundred feet of one another — in a line! These are the graves of Dan “Bud” Lally, an accomplished outfielder and Donald “Dan” Marion, a pitcher, both deadball era players, Lally having started his career in 1887 in New England while Marion’s heyday was from 1910-1915. Both were American Association players at one time; Lally hit .400 for the 1895 Western League Minneapolis Millers, quite an extraordinary accomplishment!

This past September while in Milwaukee I made it a point to determine the exact location of each of these graves, taking twine and wooden pegs for roping off the plot site with the aid of one of the office managers at Mount Olivet named Matt. It was an unusually warm day for the third week of September, as the temperature climbed past the 90˚ mark with a blustery wind. But we accomplished our goal and I took multiple photos of each site (now if I could only get WordPress to publish my photos!).

I resolved to have grave markers installed at the sites of these two graves. As a member of SABR’s Ken Keltner Chapter in Milwaukee I emailed each member of the Keltner group asking only who might be interested in having more information about the project. One person replied. I was dejected.

My next plan was to submit a letter to my Almanac subscribers with the Fall issue which went out about 10 days ago. The results have been impressive. One subscriber immediately came forward and promised to donate the money for the entirety of Lally’s grave. As the result of a second substantial donation, I am 80% of the way toward funding a marker for Marion.

It gives me a great deal of satisfaction knowing that these two graves will soon have markers so these old-time ballplayers will never be forgotten. I do wish there was a philanthropic society dedicated to such things. If anyone knows of an organization which might be willing to work with me, I know of other graves which could use a headstone.

And please feel free to leave a comment, question or suggestion!