Kitty League’s Longest Game
By Larry Edmundson
The game began at 7:30 PM on July 8, 1938. The place was Hook Park in Paducah. The combatants were the Paducah Chiefs and the Fulton Eagles. It was a five hour and twenty-eight minute game that lasted 20 innings, ending at 1:45 AM on July 9. It was the longest game in the history of the Kitty League at the time. When the league folded after the 1955 season it still maintained this distinction.
The first nine innings ended with the score deadlocked at 8-8. Fulton scored in the 14th on two infield hits and a sacrifice bunt. (Accounts of the game indicate only "sacrifice, but we know it was a bunt because the rule allowing for sacrifice flies had been repealed in 1931 and was not reinstated in any form until 1939.) Fans thought it was finally over. However in Paducah’s half of the 14th a long homer by second baseman Ora Burnett tied it once again. The score remained unchanged until the top of the 20th when Fulton scored 5 runs on two doubles, a walk, an error, a hit batsman, and a fielder’s choice.
The winning pitcher was Harry Durheim and the loser was Spencer Woodill. Paducah used four pitchers and Fulton three. Chauncey "Lefty" Scott pitched 8 1/3 of the extra innings for Paducah giving up only 5 hits and one run. Bill Robertson, Fulton’s relief pitcher matched Scott’s effort in innings pitched and gave up only one run on 5 hits. Despite the fact that starting players had as many as 10 official at bats, only six had as many as three hits-shortstop and leadoff man, Willard Padgett (3-10), left fielder Norm Veazey (3-8), right fielder Bill Batts (3-7) and center fielder Carl Cooper (3-4) for Fulton and center fielder Augie Bergamo (3-7) and right fielder Joe Barbieri (3-10) for Paducah. Bergamo went on to play for the St. Louis Cardinals in 174 games in 1944 and 45. His future Cardinal team mate of 1945, Dave Bartosch went hitless in 7 official at bats but recorded 23 put outs at first base for the Chiefs. Fulton’s first sacker, Glen Burns countered with 24 put outs.
There were two stops in play during the game. After the 15th Fulton manager Ray Clonts got into a rhubarb with umpires Jimmie Futrell and Ellis Biggs when he requested a 15 minute delay in the game to allow his players to eat some steaks for strength. The umpires ruled against him. About 1AM in the top of the 19th Paducah manager Pete Mondino asked the umpires to poll the remaining fans as to whether the game should continue or not. The umpires, undoubtedly exhausted themselves, agreed to the request and conducted a vote. The fans unanimously voted to continue the game.
In 1938 Paducah had become a farm team of the St. Louis Cardinals following the end of Union City’s contract. This accounted for the number of former Union City players on the Paducah roster, including Bartosch, Joe Barbieri, George Sauer, and Lefty Scott. The Paducah starter, Carmel Broadfoot, played for both Paducah and Fulton in 1938. Fulton was a part of the Brooklyn Dodgers chain via a working agreement with the Nashville Vols. At season’s end Paducah finished in 5th place and Fulton in 7th.
Totals 77 14 19 60 27 74 9 14 60 26
X ran for Cooper in the ninth
Xx Ran for Robertson in the fifteenth
x Batted for Scott in the eighteenth
Fulton 000 240 200 000 010 000 05 – 14
Paducah 121 000 400 000 010 000 00 - 9
Summary: Errors-Padgett, Veazey, Batts, Summers, Long, Patrow 2, Burnett, Grangard 2. RBIs- Bergamo, Barbieri 4, Pharo 2, Zanter, Ulisney, Veazey,, Gregory 5, Summers, Batts, Burnett. Two base hits- Bergamo, Batts, Matthews, Gregory 2, Padgett.. Three base hits- Veazey. Home runs-Barbieri, Burnett. Stolen bases-Patrow 3, Burnett, Gregory, Bergamo. Sacrifice hits-Pharo, Matthews, Burnett, Batts, Clonts, Burns,. Double plays-Patrow, Burnett to Bartosch: Burnett to Bartosch to Pharo: Left on bases-Fulton 14, Paducah 20. Bases on balls-Long 3, Broadfoot 2, Horn 1, Robertson 8, Durheim 2, Woodill 3. Strike outs-Long 1, Broadfoot 1, Horn 5, Rodertson 8, Scott 8, Durheim 5. Hit by pitcher- By Long, Bartosch; by horn, Cooper. Wild pitch-Robertson. Passed balls-Clonts, Pharo. Winning pitcher Durheim. Losing pitcher Woodill. Umpires Futrell and Beggs. Time 5:28.
Foot note: I became interested in this game when I read an article in the SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) Baseball Research Journal 2004, regarding the longest games in history. The article was by baseball historian Phil Lowry. I looked in the files of the Union City papers but found nothing about the game. In fact Union City was playing so poorly at that point in the season the paper had little interest reporting anything. The papers for that date were not available at the Fulton Leader office so I went to Paducah where all Paducah Sun copies are available at the McCracken County library. I found the paper that would have reported the game but there was a glitch. A corner of a page was torn. Where the person microfilming the pages would normally reach to turn a page was missing from the one page in a million that I wanted to read. The results were two pages recorded at the same time and an unviewable area that contained the game’s report. I contacted Mr. Lowery to see where he had received his information. He replied immediately but unfortunately gave me essentially what I already had, including the information about the Paducah library’s copy, and referred me to Kevin McCann. Kevin gave me a copy of the article and box score that he had received from the scrap book of umpire Ellis Beggs. Except for Mr. Beggs scrapbook and Kevin’s tenacity this bit of history would have been lost forever.