It cannot be denied that there has been long at-bats in baseball history. Bartolo Columbus he once pitched 20 to strike out Ricky Gutierrez. Alex Cora scored an 18 pitch battle against Matt Clement that ended up winning and driving in two runs. Brandon Belt and Jaime Barría combined for the longest at-bat in MLB history over 21 pitches. Duel that took 13 minutes in the 2018 season.
But none of them, nor all of them together, can live up to what they do.It happened during a game in Cuba in 2008. It was Christmas Eve, a warm Christmas Eve in the great city of Sancti Spíritus. Sure, Christmas was coming, but tonight there was a game of the Cuban National Series, and the José Antonio Huelga Stadium was filled to the brim.
Sancti Spíritus starter Yoharisleibis Panama had some problems in the first inning against the Industriales. Spíritus’ manager Juan Castro, a legendary former catcher and former member of the Cuban National Team, had already played a game earlier that day and was probably running out of patience. He took out Panama for reliever Jorge Luis Pérez. Perez immediately made matters worse, walking several times, allowing hits and putting his team behind 3-0.
Then, nervous and frustrated, Castro took the field once more and called pitcher Dany González to come into the game. The only problem? The Cuban League only allows 26 of the 27 registered players to be eligible for a game. And for this game, González was that player who was not eligible.
Through all the chaos of the first inning, Castro must have forgotten this important fact, but it was too late: Castro had called González, González had entered the game, and under the rules of the Cuban League, he was required throw at least one ball home. Once he did, the game would be under protest and Sancti Spíritus would have to resign if they ended up winning. The leader of Industriales, German Mesa, knew all this and went out to discuss the point with the umpires of the meeting.
What to do, Castro thought to himself. How could I escape the inescapable? Well, he couldn’t. But there was one thing he could do: stop. And as the well-known Cuban baseball chronicler Peter Bjarkman reported, Castro paused for almost a mind-blowing 85 minutes.Maybe he was delaying and hoping for rain and a postponement? Which really wouldn’t have mattered; Gonzalez would still have had to make a pitch when the teams were back in action.
Perhaps, like most of us who stopped for so long, he thought that some catastrophic event that destroyed the world could interfere and consider the game to be useless. Anything but an embarrassing loss. As Bjarkman writes, there were no accounts of what actually happened during the 85 minutes.
Finally, Castro realized that no asteroids or dinosaurs were approaching to eat the stadium and everyone inside. So, he ordered González to throw a pitch. The ineligible pitcher struck out batter David Remedios, the coldest man in the history of the sport, on three pitches in a row.
The inning apparently continued for another half hour, with Industriales scoring a total of 11 runs. They won the game, 14-4, but they would have won anyway because Gonzalez came in to pitch. The story is a reminder to all baseball managers to remember to follow the rules.
Matt Monagan / MLB.com
We would love to say thanks to the author of this article for this awesome material
A turn at bat that lasted 85 minutes? Yes it happened, at a baseball game in 2008