Flashback Friday: Rick Dempsey's solo home run in the 22nd inning
Wednesday night's 15-inning marathon between the Orioles and Yankees left me grasping for comparisons. The game that came to mind most immediately was the four-hour, 22-minute contest between the same two teams on Sept. 5, 1997. That one only went nine innings, but it was the longest nine inning American League night game in history. And unlike Wednesday night's contest, it was time well spent as the O's beat the Yankees 13-9.
When it comes to the most innings played, the O's don't even register. Brooklyn and Boston played 26 innings in 1920, and many teams outside Baltimore have played 20 innings or more. But that doesn't mean there isn't an Orioles connection to one of the longest games in history.
Former Orioles World Series MVP and current MASN broadcaster Rick Dempsey's solo home run leading off the 22nd inning at Montreal's Olympic Stadium gave the Dodgers a 1-0 victory over the Expos on Aug. 23, 1989.
Dempsey, who joined the Dodgers as a free agent in 1988, entered the game in the bottom of the eighth inning after manager Tommy Lasorda used Bill Bean as a pinch runner for starting catcher Mike Scioscia in the top of the frame. To that point, Dempsey was batting .168 with one home run.
"I was trying to hit one out against Rich Thompson in the 16th and I just missed it," Dempsey said afterward. "The way my season has gone, I figured there's no harm in going for one again and try to end things right there."
Dempsey's late-late-game heroics came off former Orioles starter Dennis Martinez. Martinez's only hit allowed in two innings of work was the Dempsey homer. It would be his only relief appearance in 34 games pitched for the Expos in 1989. Montreal pitchers established a major league record by not walking a batter in 22 innings of work.
Some other Orioles connections to the game:
-Hall of Famer Eddie Murray played the entire game at first base for the Dodgers and went 3-for-9 on the night.
-Tim Raines, who played four games for the O's in 2001, started in left field for the Expos and went 2-for-7 at the plate.
-Current bench coach Willie Randolph covered second base for the Dodgers. He had two hits in nine at-bats.
-Fernando Valenzuela, he of the 8-10 record for the Birds in 1993, struck out as a pinch hitter in the top of the 17th inning.
-Ken Singleton, a 10-year Baltimore veteran and member of two pennant-winning teams ('79 & '83), worked as the color guy for the Expos.