Talk about a Long Night

By Larry Edmundson

Major league teams today routinely use 3-5 pitchers to complete a nine-inning game. If a starter can guarantee completion of six innings, he is assured continued starting assignments and a long well paid career. Pitch count is the name of the game. You only complete a game if you are working on a shut out or a no hitter. It wasn’t always that way!

July 10, 1937 the Union City Greyhounds hosted the Lexington Giants in a night game at Turner Field. The score was 8-6 in favor of the Giants. The game lasted five minutes short of four hours. It went 17 innings. Union City’s starter, Paul Price, won himself a reserve seat in the hearts of Greyhound fans when he pitched all seventeen innings.

Price’s curve ball was working magnificently. He faced 72 batters during the game. Lexington reached him for six runs in the first four innings. After the fourth Price allowed only nine scattered singles. In the 17 innings he gave up only four walks with three of them coming before the seventh inning. He struck out 12 on the night.

Lexington scored in the first off two singles. Giant Rab Rogers, a former Ole Miss football star smashed a homer in the second. Three hits and two walks yielded three runs in the third. Lexington could manage only one run in the fourth despite making four hits. From that point on Price steadied and pitched 12 scoreless innings.

Lexington’s Dick Stewart pitched a one-hit game for five innings and gave up only an infield pop up single in the sixth. Starting in the seventh however the Greyhounds began to get to him. Dave Bartosch led off the seventh with a home run. Three singles, a triple and a walk scored three runs in the eighth and Athos Sada’s clout over the right field wall with Valine aboard tied the game in the bottom of the ninth. Price fanned the side in the tenth. He followed with two more hitless innings before giving up one hit in each of the next four. Bill Lyter, who was later relieved by Dolly Lambert, relieved Stewart.

In the seventeenth, with one out and one man on first, manager Johnny Antonelli was to anxious for a double play letting the ground ball slipped by him. A left field fly ball and a single brought the Giants winning runs home.

Clint Andereck, recent addition to the Kitty League Hall of Fame was the Lexington second baseman in this game. Future major leaguers playing included Union City manager Johnny Antonelli (formerly manager of the Lexington team in 1935), Dave Bartosch, and Eddie Murphy, Union City’s third baseman. Antonelli broke in with the Cardinals in 1944 but played most of his major league games with the 1945 Phillies. A team-mate on the 1944 Cardinals club was Augie Bergamo, who played his rookie year with Paducah in 1938. Bartosch also played with both Antonelli and Bergamo on the 1945 Cardinal team, while Murphy had 13 games with the 1942 Philadelphia Phillies.