How Long Is A Baseball Game? - []

How Long Is A Baseball Game?

How Long Is A Baseball Game

What is the duration of a baseball game?

MLB – A professional baseball game in America is nine innings long and lasts about two hours and forty minutes on average. Each inning is split into halves, where the away team bats in the top half of the inning and the home team bats in the bottom half.

In each half, the defending team is required to make three outs before they can switch sides and hit. Once both teams have recorded three outs, the full inning is over. While there is no game clock in baseball, Major League Baseball has implemented a pitch clock and a two-minute countdown between each half of an inning to ensure the game runs smoothly.

Unlike in other sports such as football or basketball, there are no designated media timeouts in baseball broadcasts. Play stops either when teams are switching sides or when a manager visits the mound, where they can either take time to talk with their pitcher or bring a new player into the game.

How long does an MLB baseball game take?

Key Takeaways –

The length of a baseball game is determined by a variety of factors, including the number of runs scored, managerial decisions, and other gameplay considerations. Baseball has no game clock and lasts until the game is completed, generally over nine innings. As of 2023, the Major League Baseball (MLB) introduced a pitch clock for the first time, allowing 15 seconds for each pitch with the bases empty and 20 seconds with runners on. This has significantly reduced the average game length by around 30 minutes, bringing it down to about 2 hours and 40 minutes. Several rules have been implemented in recent years to speed up gameplay and increase offensive production. These include banning the defensive shift, enlarging bases, and adopting the designated hitter in the National League as of 2022. In addition to the pitch clock, new rules in 2023 include making the 2020 temporary rule of placing a runner on second base in extra innings a permanent one. Offensive production, calls to the bullpen, replay reviews, slow pitchers and batters, pick-off moves and batter timeouts, arguments and fights, player and umpire injuries, weather delays, and extra innings can all contribute to longer game times. The longest professional baseball game ever was a minor league game between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings, which lasted 33 innings over 8 hours and 25 minutes. The longest-ever MLB game in terms of time was a 25-inning match between the Chicago White Sox and the Milwaukee Brewers in 1984, lasting 8 hours and 6 minutes. The objective of a baseball game is for a team to score more runs than the opposing team. The game lasts nine innings, or eight and a half if the home team is ahead after the top of the ninth. If a game is tied after nine innings, it goes into extra innings until a team leads at the end of an inning. As of 2023, an average inning lasts about 16 to 18 minutes. Despite changes to the game’s rules and pace, MLB games have generally increased in length over time, with the recent introduction of the pitch clock being a significant factor in reducing game duration.

Is baseball 8 or 9 innings?

Inning – Wikipedia Unit of play in baseball, softball, and other similar games This article is about the baseball and softball term. For the cricket term, see, For other uses, see, A baseball scoreboard In,, and, an inning is the basic unit of play, consisting of two halves or frames, the “top” (first half) and the “bottom” (second half).

  1. In each half, one team bats until three are made, with the other team playing defense.
  2. A full baseball game is typically scheduled for nine innings, while softball games consist of seven innings; although this may be shortened due to weather or extended if the score is tied at the end of the scheduled innings.

The use of the term inning in baseball and softball contrasts with and, in which the term is in both singular and plural.

Is baseball 7 or 9 innings?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia In baseball, an official game ( regulation game in the Major League Baseball rulebook) is a game where nine innings have been played, except when the game is scheduled with fewer innings, extra innings are required to determine a winner, or the game must be stopped before nine innings have been played, e.g.

Due to inclement weather. The term “official game” is mainly used in the context of a game that is stopped before nine innings have been played, though it has been used for other promotional purposes. A game that is stopped (“called” in the MLB rulebook) by the umpires before the regulation number of innings have been played may be considered an official game if five innings have been played ( 4 + 1 ⁄ 2 innings if the home team is in the lead), unless the game meets one of the conditions for a suspended game,

An official game that is stopped in this way is ended at the point of stoppage and statistics are added to each team’s totals, while a suspended game is resumed from the point of stoppage at a later time. A game that is stopped before five innings have been played is considered “no game” unless it can be considered a suspended game; statistics accumulated before the stoppage are not counted and replay of the game is subject to the league rules.

Why are baseball games so long?

This article is based on the presentation I gave at SABR 48 in Pittsburgh in 2018 to address the issue of game length which has become a hot issue in recent years. In 2014, then-commissioner Bud Selig announced the formation of a committee to investigate the issue.

Since taking office, current commissioner Rob Manfred has taken steps to reduce game time including rules changes that limit mound visits, a countdown clock between innings, and has spoken openly about the possibility of introducing a “shot clock” for every pitch. The commissioner’s concerns are not new.

Ban Johnson, the original and long-time president of the American League, was agitated by what he considered slow games as long ago as 1909. As the headline in a December 2, 1909, issue of The Sporting News reads: “Why Games Drag: Too Much Practice Time Taken Between Innings.” In the article, Johnson had noted that several games had exceeded two hours and he decided that teams took too much time throwing the ball around the infield at the start of each inning after the pitcher’s warmup throws. He was supported by veteran umpire Tom Brown who said: “The practice work does not belong in the game.” In 1925, Johnson was still banging that drum. The article noted: “Contests in the A.L. this season have frequently run more than two hours and Johnson wants to know the reason why. A report must be sent to President Johnson on all games running over two hours, with the reasons for the delays. If it is because of arguments, the guilty athletes will be punished”.

For the record, 269 of the 616 AL game that year were over 120 minutes—44%—and the league average was 120.8 minutes.1 One can only imagine what Johnson’s reaction would be to our current average game time, which is now over three hours! Why do games take so long? Various culprits have been blamed depending on who’s answering, making it high time for a sabermetric look at the issue.

I decided to take a long view to examine many years to look for patterns and trends that can be measured quantitatively. The data for this study come from Retrosheet ( ) and I was able to study 183,224 games over the course of 108 seasons, 1908 through 2017 minus 1918-19.2 In order to make fair comparisons, it is necessary to remove games whose times were skewed, including extra-inning games, and games that ended early due to rain, curfew, or other reasons.

Length Games Percentage
8.5 80968 44.3
9.0 83516 45.7
All 164484 90.0

How has the length of the average game changed? It has definitely grown over time. Figure 1 shows the data from 1908-2017, excluding 1918 and 1919, but including the extra innings games this time to see the extreme values. Figure 1. Average minutes for all games, 1908-2017 The figure shows the expected annual variations and periods of rise as well as decline. However, when a linear regression is performed to determine the best fit line, the result shows an extremely strong direct relationship with the R 2 value (coefficient of determination) indicating that 94% of the variance in the game length is accounted for by the passage of the years.

Year Avg (in minutes) Landmark
1934 123.6 1st year with 2+ hour average
1954 150.3 1st year with 2.5 hour average
2000 181.4 1st year with 3+ hour average
2017 188.7 Longest average game time

At SABR 47 in New York, Steve Steinberg asked me what the relation was between number of pitches and game length. Retrosheet’s pitch data hav two distinct components. For the years 1947–64 we have 2,739 games from Allan Roth of the Dodgers, and from 1988 to present we have 68,566 games from Project Scoresheet, Baseball Workshop and MLBAM. There are several points to make about Figure 2. The R 2 value of 0.73 mean that the number of pitches in a game explains nearly three quarters of the variance in the time of game. That is a strong relation, although we would always like it to be more.

  • I did analyze the 8.5- and 9-inning games separately and also the Roth games separately from the modern ones.
  • The Roth data fit in extremely well with the modern information so there is no need to present separate graphs.
  • Also the calculated slopes of the lines for 8.5 and 9 inning games are only slightly different and I therefore combined them in this one figure.

This figure includes very large ranges in both pitch totals and game times. These extremes and the averages are summarized in Table 3. Table 3: Ranges and Averages of Pitch Totals and Game Length in Regulation-Length Games

8.5 innings 9.0 innings
Min. pitches 145 178
Max. pitches 439 437
Min. minutes 93 101
Max. minutes 271 285
Avg. pitches 274 289
Avg. minutes 166 176

Playing the bottom of the ninth adds an average of 10 minutes and 15 pitches to the game. Having seen this clear importance of the number of pitches on the time of game, I then set about looking for explanations of what would make the number of pitches increase. Runs are, of course, the net result of all offensive action. As we see here, scoring has varied over the last 110 years, but there is no obvious upward trend to match the time of game. We have still not returned to the level of scoring seen in the first 15 years of the lively ball era although the average game length then was more than an hour less than it is now.

  • So more scoring doesn’t give us our answer.
  • The average number of hits per game and the changes there are pretty close to the pattern for runs, but once again there is no systematic upward trend.
  • Walks take more pitches than other kinds of events (more details on that in a moment), but they also show little systematic change.

On the other hand, strikeouts have changed dramatically. As the lively ball era began, the number of strikeouts per game fell, being less than six per game for both teams combined until 1930. The average stayed in the mid-7 range until 1952 when it began a steady increase to a peak of 11.

In 1967. After the mound was lowered and the strike zone reduce in 1969, the average began to drop, reaching 9. in 1981. However, since then there has been a steady rise (with some short-term oscillations) and the value really took off in 2006. The strikeout rate in 2017 was 16.2 per game, the first time it has passed 16.

We must address home runs as well and those annual rates are in Figure 4. Figure 4. Home runs per regulation-length game, 1908 – 2017, both teams combined. Home runs have certainly increased since 1908, but there have been boom and bust years. As expected, there was a surge with the introduction of the lively ball in 1920, but that ended dramatically in 1940, with a drop of 42% to 0.7 per game in 1943, perhaps reflecting changes in the construction of the ball due to wartime shortages.

  • That slack time was followed by a dramatic upsurge from 1945 to 1961 when it reached 1.9 per game.
  • The next dramatic point was in 1987 (circled in Figure 4) which has been written about a great deal.
  • There is no satisfactory explanation for this 16% spurt in a single year although there was much speculation at the time about a “juiced” ball.

Sports Illustrated published a study in which the physical properties of the 1987 ball were studied and nothing was detected to account for this large increase. The decline of 28% the next year is equally mysterious. At any rate, the next sustained increase was from 1992 to 2000, followed by a slow decline to 2014 when it was 1.7.

  • In the four seasons since (2014 to 2017), we have seen an extraordinary 46% increase to last year’s all-time high of just under 2.5 per game.
  • The R 2 shows a strong relationship over time.
  • I go through all this detail to make the point that there is a strong relationship between home run increase and strikeout increase.

This is shown clearly in Figure 5. Figure 5. Home runs and strikeouts, 1908-2017. The R 2 value of 0.69 shows a strong relation. The only other pair of variables with this close relation are hits and runs. I am led to a conclusion that others have reached as well, namely that the correspondence between home run rate and strikeout rate is one of cause and effect.

One consequence of sabermetric analysis has been that strikeouts no longer have the stigma they once did. Statcast data show launch angles and swing velocities and batters have clearly used this information to adjust their swings so that they hit the ball further. Of course, as these harder swings happen, it is much more likely that the ball will be missed, so we have a pretty clear all-or-nothing phenomenon.

I then calculated the average number of pitches for four types of event since 1988, the period for which we have pitch data for every game.

balls in play strikeouts walks and hit by pitch

These are shown in Figure 6. Figure 6. Number of pitches for each type of event. Balls in play, walks, and hit by pitch show a slight, but discernible increase with the average walk now taking 5.8 pitches to complete. These increases, especially in walks, may indicate greater patience on the part of hitters or greater concern (“nibbling”) by pitchers.

Strikeouts have not had a comparable increase in the average number of pitches, showing a remarkably stable pattern. One last way to look at this is to examine how often each type of event occurs. Figure 7 has these results, again from 1988 to 2017. This time outs on balls in play are separated from hits.

Figure 7. Percentage of different events, 1988 to 2017 There a clear inverse relation between outs on balls in play and strikeouts. Hits, walks, and hit by pitch have stayed quite steady. On average, strikeouts take 1.5 pitches more than other kinds of out, so this trade of strikeouts for outs on balls in play will also add time to the game.

In fact, all of the factors point in the same direction of contributing to increasing game length. Another important measurement is the number of plate appearances per game and their pattern of change, shown in Figure 8. This is to be expected since the scoring of more runs necessarily requires more plate appearances.

This pattern is rather similar to what we saw for scoring, which is reasonable since games with more runs will of necessity have more batters. The rapid increase in plate appearances as the lively ball was introduced and the decline with the higher mound and larger strike zone in the mid-1960s stand out, as did the changes in runs scored. Finally we must consider actions affecting game length which are not directly related to the actual playing of the game. Many of these have been blamed for lengthening game times. My choices for these are as follows:

Time between pitches (attributable to both batter and pitcher) Time between innings Replay reviews Visits to the mound Relief pitchers, especially mid-inning changes

Time between pitches has received attention from several sources in recent years. Baseball Prospectus has documented differences in pitch interval between bases empty situations and those with runners on base. Jim Albert has used PitchFX data very impressively to demonstrate among other thing that intervals are longer in the later stages of the game. Fangraphs published overall data on the time between pitches for all games since 2008.3 These results are especially interesting to me. They measured an increase in the average time between pitches of 21.6 to 24.7 seconds between 2008 and 2017 with over 40% of the difference happening in 2017. The interval has both increased and decreased over this period. If we apply the full value of 2.6 seconds to the average number of pitches in a regulation game, the conclusion is that this increased interval has added 8 minutes to the average regulation game in these last 10 years. Since the average regulation game has increased by 14.5 minutes in that time, the 8 minutes are a significant part of the increase. Grant Brisbee published an intriguing article at in which he did an extraordinarily detailed analysis of two comparable games, one from 1984, the other from 2014, which were available on YouTube.4 The more recent game was over 30 minutes longer and Brisbee’s biggest conclusion is that he felt it was due to “lollygagging” by both pitchers and batters. Time between innings is not routinely measured or reported so it is hard to know how long it takes to change sides, especially in earlier seasons. There have been various rules on the timing of these breaks and it is clear that the current limit of two minutes is being enforced more stringently. Replays have been with us for about a decade now and so far this year they occur about one time for every two games, similar to the rate in 2017. They were somewhat more frequent earlier in the decade. For 2018, these reviews are formally listed through June 30 as taking one minute and 23 seconds, with an average on 59 seconds “on the headset.” This does not count the potential delay of 30 seconds granted to teams to decide if they want to challenge. On the other hand, the replay system has greatly reduced the number of managerial arguments on the field, which will lead to a shorter game. So, although it will be hard to get exact numbers for the time taken by reviews, this is obviously another factor that may make games longer. Visits to the mound by the catcher, infielder, or someone from the bench (pitching coach or manager) also consume time, but I know of no data that systematically measure the time used by visits. MLB has taken some steps in this regard in 2018 by limiting mound visits to six per game per team. The visits were limited to 30 seconds beginning in 2016, the first restriction of this kind. There was consideration of imposing a 20 second limit between pitches as well this year, but that rule was not adopted. Relief pitcher usage is potentially the biggest effect on time of game. There are two kinds of relief appearances: those at the start of an inning and those that happen during an inning. It seems reasonable that the mid-inning changes should take more time than a change at the start of an inning which should be virtually identical in terms of time consumed to having the same pitcher stay in the game. Figure 10 has the data for these two aspects of relief pitcher usage. Figure 9. Average number of relief pitchers per game, both teams combined. > The line for total relievers per game goes back to 1908 because our data allow that determination. The line for mid-inning relievers starts in 1939 because that measurement requires full play by play for every game and Retrosheet’s complete seasons currently begin with 1939.

The line for total relievers has several distinct portions. First, there is a dip during each of the World Wars, although the first drop was bigger. However, there is a fairly steady overall increase from 1908 through 1968 and then a decline for most of the next decade after the changes in mound height and strike zone.

The advent of the DH had no immediate effect. From 1975 to the present, we have another long period of increase, much faster than the earlier one. The average passed 6 relievers per game for the first time in 2015 and reached 6.4 in 2017. By the way, through games of June 30, 2018, the average in 2018 is over 6.5, right in line with the recent pace of an additional tenth of a reliever per game for each year.

  • However, the surprising results to me are the mid-inning changes.
  • These have increased by more than a factor of two since 1939, but essentially not at all since 1994.
  • This indicates to me that the use of additional relief pitchers has had minimal effect on the time of games.
  • These extra pitchers appear to be the “role” players who are dedicated to the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings.

Changes in bullpen use are not the culprit for why the game keeps getting longer. Although there are more batters per game than there were a century ago, the biggest part of the increase is that each plate appearance besides strikeouts takes more pitches than 30 years ago. The inclusion of the Allan Roth data reveals interesting patterns.5 The general average for his era is some 25 pitches fewer per game than current levels, but the first few years of the 1988 to 2017 interval are similar to his values. Of course, we do not know the shape of the line for 1965 to 1987, but I note that the last two years that Roth covered, 1963 and 1964, are clearly the lowest of any seasons for which we have data.

These were, of course, the first two years of the altered mound and strike zone. My major conclusion is that the single biggest factor contributing to the longer games is the number of pitches. The rise in strikeouts and related drop in outs on balls in play accounts for much of the difference over time.

I have identified other factors (and other researchers have as well), but the number of pitches stands out as predominant. DAVID W. SMITH joined SABR in 1977 and has made research presentations at 22 national SABR conventions. In 2001 at SABR 31, he won the USA Today Sports Weekly Award for his presentation on the 1951 NL pennant race.

In 2016 he won the Doug Pappas Award for his presentation on closers. In 2005 he received SABR’s highest honor, the Bob Davids Award, and in 2012 he was honored with the Henry Chadwick Award, He is founder and president of Retrosheet and an Emeritus Professor of Biology at the University of Delaware.

Notes 1 Of the 546 regulation-length game in 1925, 216 were over 120 minutes (40 %) and the average time was 118 minutes.2 The exclusion of 1918 and 1919 reflects the unavailability of time of game for those two seasons for more than a handful of games.

How long is the longest MLB game?

Longest MLB game ever The longest game in Major League history went on for a whopping 26 innings. The Brooklyn Robins vs. the Boston Braves game on May 1, 1920, took almost four hours. Today, we know the Robins by a different name – the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Why do baseball games start 5 minutes after?

As Quora User mentioned, games are scheduled to start after the hour to allow time for pre-game rituals (anthem, first pitch, line-up) and commentary (and a commercial break) in TV broadcasts, which start on the hour. Most games start at something logical like :05 or :10 past the hour.

How many innings are in baseball?

Where did the idea of 9 innings come from? – In Major League Baseball (MLB), an official game must have nine innings played in order for the game to be considered complete. This regulation has been a part of baseball’s history since 1857 when Alexander Cartwright first laid out the rules and regulations for playing the game of baseball.

  • The reason behind this rule is that it allows major league pitchers to face 27 batters, which can help teams decide who they want to keep on their roster during championship series.
  • In addition, if a team is winning after eight or more innings are completed in MLB games, then an automatic runner will be placed at second base as per division rules.

However, if the score remains tied after nine innings, then extra innings may continue until one side gets ahead.

How late do baseball games go?

Unlike many sports, baseball does not have a set time limit. A standard game of baseball lasts 9 innings but if the score is tied after 9, the game will go into extra innings. Extra innings continue until the tie is broken. For this reason, a baseball game can, in theory, go on indefinitely.

Is there 12 innings in baseball?

Line score of the longest professional baseball game, which lasted 24 extra innings; 33 innings total. Extra innings is the extension of a baseball or softball game in order to break a tie, Ordinarily, a baseball game consists of nine regulation innings (in softball and high school baseball games there are typically seven innings; in Little League Baseball, six), each of which is divided into halves: the visiting team bats first, after which the home team takes its turn at bat.

However, if the score remains tied at the end of the regulation number of complete innings, the rules provide that “play shall continue until (1) the visiting team has scored more total runs than the home team at the end of a completed inning, or (2) the home team scores the winning run in an uncompleted inning.” (Since the home team bats second, condition (2) does not allow the visiting team to score more runs before the end of the inning, unless the game is called before the inning ends).

The rules of the game, including the batting order, availability of substitute players and pitchers, etc., remain intact in extra innings. Managers must display caution to avoid exhausting all their substitute players during regular innings, in case the game reaches extensive extra innings.

Why is baseball 9 innings long?

Why is a game 9 innings? These are the backstories behind baseball’s iconic rules Vintage print of a runner rounding the bases in an early New York baseball game (hand-colored lithograph), 1891. Published in New York by Louis Prang & Company. (Photo by GraphicaArtis/Getty Images) (GraphicaArtis/Getty Images) For decades, baseball has remained such a constant that its rules and structure have become as cherished as its greatest players.

The run-scoring environment might have changed a bit since 1905, but the fundamental look and feel of the game hasn’t. Legendary sportswriter and Spink Award winner Red Smith, as always, said it best: “Ninety feet between bases is perhaps as close as man has ever come to perfection.”But, while Red certainly had a point, the story behind that perfection was less divine intervention than a whole lot of trial and error.

So, how did baseball get here? Why are there four balls and three strikes, anyway? You have questions, we have answers. Why do pitchers throw overhand? of the world aside, baseball history has been written by men throwing overhand. But it wasn’t always this way: For decades, every pitcher had to throw with their arm directly perpendicular to the ground, as you can make out in this illustration of a game from the 1860s: (Incidentally, this is also why they’re referred to as “pitchers” – they pitched the ball in the traditional sense of the term, with a stiff underhanded motion, almost like tossing a horseshoe.)If that sounds like a pretty easy time for hitters, well, that was the point.

Baseball evolved from other stick and ball games like cricket, so, like in those games, pitchers weren’t originally intended to be in opposition to the batter. Their purpose was simple: Offer the ball up in a hittable position and get out of the way. Presumably tired of getting shelled year after year, pitchers like Tommy Bond started pushing the envelope inch by inch, creating greater speed and movement with essentially sidearm deliveries – until, in 1872, the perpendicular rule was relaxed to allow for greater range of motion.

At that point, all bets were off: Pitchers – recognizing that they could throw harder, locate better and throw more ferocious breaking balls – began to creep their release point all the way up to a three-quarters arm slot by the early 1880s. Finally, in 1884, Cincinnati Red Stockings boss and “Father of Professional Baseball” Harry Wright made it official: Pitchers could deliver the ball any way they wanted.

  1. The move fundamentally changed the relationship to the batter, and changed much of the game with it – from the rule stipulating that batters where the pitch was thrown to the function of balls and strikes.
  2. Speaking of which,
  3. Why are batters given four balls and three strikes? “Three strikes you’re out” has been a foundational rule of baseball since the very beginning – it was even codified in the 1845 Knickerbocker Rules, thought to be some of the very first written rules of the game.

For everything else, though, it’s been a long and winding road. Again, baseball’s primary objective in the mid-19th century was to let batters put the ball in play as much as possible. So, naturally, those batters were given plenty of chances to make that happen.

And we do mean plenty: Initially, called strikes didn’t even exist, and when they were instituted in 1858, they came with caveats – the first pitch couldn’t be a called strike, and umpires were required to warn each batter that a certain pitch would be called a strike in the future. But that’s not all! The idea of a “ball” didn’t yet exist, either, so eventually pitchers recognized that they could continue to deliver pitches well wide of the plate and wait for the batter to get impatient.

As you might imagine, this created some, uh, pretty drastic pace of play concerns: Batters, free to wait for the perfect pitch, would see up to 40-50 pitches per at-bat – in one 1860 game between the Brooklyn Atlantics and the Brooklyn Excelsiors, 665 pitches were thrown,

  • Over three innings,Games were routinely called due to lack of daylight, so, in 1863, called balls were instituted.
  • Even when the concept was introduced, though, it was slowly and tentatively: Only every third “unfair” pitch was called a ball, meaning a batter could only walk after nine (!) pitches outside of the strike zone.

As run-scoring declined and pitchers began to do more than just feed batters, the rule was frequently adjusted – first to eight balls, then to seven, then to six and so on, until in 1889, the league settled on four. Why nine innings (and why nine men in a lineup)? In baseball’s infancy, not only was it a game without a clock, but it was also a game without a set number of innings.

  1. Instead, teams played until one of them scored 21 aces – the 19th century equivalent of a run.
  2. This wasn’t a problem at first, in an age in which scoring runs was pretty commonplace – games lasted in the 1840s, and featured scores as high as,
  3. A problem was brewing, though: As skill levels increased and pitching caught up to hitting, those 21 aces were harder and harder to come by.

After an 1856 game ended in a 12-12 tie on account of darkness, it was clear that a change needed to be made. Enter Alexander Cartwright, founder of the Knickerbocker Club and definitely not a real fireman: That begged the question: Exactly how many innings was the right amount? At that point, the Knickerbockers were torn between seven or nine men to a side – it all depended on how many were available that day – and for consistency’s sake, the number of players dictated the number of innings played.

  • Alas, this couldn’t be decided without some good old-fashioned squabbling.
  • From MLB official historian John Thorn: In an 1856 Knickerbocker meeting, backed a motion to permit nonmembers to take part in intramural games if fewer than eighteen Knicks were present, Duncan F.
  • Curry countermoved that if fourteen Knickerbockers were available, the game should admit no outsiders and be played shorthanded, as had been their practice since 1845.

Sensing that an official ruling was necessary as more and more baseball teams were formed, the Knickerbockers decided to form a committee in 1856 to tackle the issue. The desire for more competitive defense won out, and nine innings – and nine men – became the standard for good.

Why 162 games? Initially, baseball’s scheduling was simple: In 1920, the American and National Leagues both had eight teams, and each team would play its league rival 22 times, giving us the 154-game slate that would last for four decades. And then expansion happened. In 1961, the AL added the Los Angeles Angels and Washington Senators.

The next year, the NL welcomed the New York Mets and the Houston Colt,45s. (Yes, this did lead to one year in which the AL’s schedule was slightly longer – they both covered the same number of days, but the NL got more days off.) Suddenly, the simple math was slightly more complicated: Each team playing every other team in the league 22 times would have resulted in an untenable 198-game schedule.

  1. So, MLB cut it to 18 games against each league rival, and 162 games was born.
  2. But, while that number has endured, it hasn’t been without some controversy as further expansions made the calculation a bit trickier: 76 games within the same division, 66 against non-divisional league opponents and 20 Interleague games.

A bit involved? Sure. But, as Thorn to Mental Floss back in 2014, good luck changing it: “Baseball is a religion. It becomes the 11th commandment: 162 games.” How did home plate get its shape? Believe it or not, home plate wasn’t always the square-triangle hybrid we know today.

  1. Until the turn of the 20th century, games used just about any object teams could find, be it made of metal, marble or even glass.
  2. The only thing that mattered was the shape: Home plate had to be circular.
  3. As you may have already guessed, this posed a problem: Imagine sliding into home, only to find your leg scraped or sliced by a piece of rock.

(Robert Keating, the man who patented the design for the rubber, even complained that tapping one’s bat on home would ” “.) So, in the 1880s, changes were made. The National League mandated a rubber or marble plate in 1885, and in 1887, home plate was transformed into a 12 inch-by-12 inch square – in line with the other three bases.

  1. This posed difficulties of its own, though – it was awfully hard to tell whether or not a ball caught the corner when the corner was as small as a single point.
  2. The solution? Create a base that was a forward-facing square in the front, to allow for a longer line demarcating the strike zone, while maintaining the diamond look at the back.

Why is it 60 feet, six inches to home? If you think Aroldis Chapman is impressive now, consider: If Chapman had pitched back in 1888, when the mound was just 50 feet away from home plate, he likely at around 125 mph. For much of the game’s early history, the distance from pitcher to home plate was a fuzzy concept – the Knickerbocker Rules didn’t settle on a fixed distance, and by the 1870s, pitchers simply had to stay within a box whose front edge was 45 feet from the front of home plate (again, similar to cricket, though the pitcher wasn’t allowed a running start).

This worked for a while, until pitchers began to move beyond the simple underhand delivery. In 1880, Lee Richmond tossed the first perfect game in Major League history, and John Ward followed up with one of his own just five days later. The two games – along with the fact that the National League ERA that year was – sent shockwaves through professional baseball,

and not simply because of Ward’s Snidely Whiplash facial hair. Over the next few years, pitching moved closer to what we know today. Looking to goose offense, the front of the pitcher’s box was moved back to 50 feet away, and by 1887 – with overhand deliveries now the law of the league – pitchers were required to start their delivery with their feet 55.5 feet from home.Desperate for some offense with fan attendance on the decline, the Senior Circuit moved the box back one more time.

Is 8 innings a complete game?

A complete game is recorded when a starting pitcher finishes a game without leaving for a relief pitcher, While a complete game usually lasts nine innings, its length can differ under the following conditions:

  1. If the pitcher is playing for the visiting team, and it is trailing after taking its turn at bat in the ninth inning, the pitcher is credited with an eight-inning complete game loss. The pitcher is still credited with a complete game if he was removed for a pinch hitter in the top of the ninth inning;
  2. If the pitcher allows the home team to score the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning, he is credited with a complete game of either 8 inning, 8.1 innings or 8.2 innings, depending on the number of outs recorded when the game ended;
  3. If a game is called early due to weather or darkness, or any other factor, the pitcher is credited with a complete game of however many official innings have been played;
  4. If a game goes into extra innings, the pitcher’s complete game can be as long as the game lasts; a number of complete games of 15 innings or more have been recorded in Major League Baseball,

In 1984, Milt Wilcox became the first pitcher to spend an entire season in a starting rotation without recording a complete game. While seasons of 20 or more complete games were common until then, it is now very rare for a pitcher to record more than a handful of complete games in a season, due to the increased use of specialized relief pitchers, and increasing reliance on pitch counts to dictate when a pitcher should be removed from the game.

All Time Leaders
Span Player Total Notes
Career Cy Young 750
Season Will White 75 1879
Season (since 1901) Jack Chesbro 48 1904
NPB Career Masaichi Kaneda 365
AAGPBL Season Helen Fox 40

Do baseball games always go 9 innings?

How Many Innings Are Played in an MLB Game? – In MLB games, a total of nine innings are played. However, if a game is tied after these nine innings, the game will go to extra innings, Additionally, if the home team has the lead after the top of the ninth has ended, the game will end without the bottom of the ninth being played.

What is the 7th inning called?

Origin – Harry Wright, first to report the seventh-inning stretch in 1869—in the second inning William Howard Taft, first U.S. president to observe the seventh-inning stretch in 1910 The origin of the seventh-inning stretch tradition is much disputed, and it is difficult to certify any definite history. One claimant is Brother Jasper (Brennan) of Mary, F.S.C.

, the man credited with bringing baseball to Manhattan College in New York City. Being the Prefect of Discipline as well as the coach of the team, it fell to Brother Jasper to supervise the student fans at every home game. On one particularly hot and muggy day in June 1882, during the seventh inning against a semi-pro team called the Metropolitans, the Prefect noticed his charges becoming restless.

To break the tension, he called a timeout in the game and instructed everyone in the bleachers to stand up and unwind. It worked so well he began calling for a seventh-inning rest period at every game. The Manhattan College custom spread to the major leagues after the New York Giants were charmed by it at an exhibition game.

In June 1869 the New York Herald published a report on a game between the Cincinnati Red Stockings and the Brooklyn Eagles (home team): “At the close of the long second inning, the laughable stand up and stretch was indulged in all round the field.” Whether a stretch was observed nationwide is not known, but later in 1869 the Cincinnati Commercial reported on a game that was played on the West Coast between the Red Stockings and the Eagle Club of San Francisco: “One thing noticeable in this game was a ten minutes’ intermission at the end of the sixth inning – a dodge to advertise and have the crowd patronize the bar.” However, a letter written in 1869 by Harry Wright (1835–1895), manager of the Cincinnati Red Stockings documented something very similar to a seventh-inning stretch, making the following observation about the Cincinnati fans’ ballpark behavior: “The spectators all arise between halves of the seventh inning, extend their legs and arms and sometimes walk about.

In so doing they enjoy the relief afforded by relaxation from a long posture upon hard benches.” Another tale holds that the stretch was invented by a manager stalling for time to warm up a relief pitcher, On October 18, 1889, Game 1 of the 1889 World Series saw a seventh-inning stretch after somebody yelled “stretch for luck”.

A popular story for the origin of the seventh-inning stretch is that on April 14, 1910, on opening day, 6 ft 2 in (188 cm), 350-pound (160 kg), President William Howard Taft was sore from prolonged sitting at a game between the Washington Senators and the Philadelphia Athletics and stood up to stretch, causing the crowd to feel obligated to join their president in his gestures.

This story is set at a far later date than the others, however, so he may only have given the presidential seal of approval to a longstanding tradition; the story that his physical problems forced him to stand up contradict this, but he might have just been waiting for the proper accepted time to relieve his pain; either way, he gave national publicity to the practice. Jack Norworth (1879–1959) (left), lyricist of the 1908 song ” Take Me Out to the Ball Game “. It was first sung by Norworth’s then-wife, Nora Bayes (right), c.1910.

Was MLB always 9 innings?

The answer, according to, it that a game wasn’t always nine innings. In baseball’s infancy, teams would play until one team scored 21 times. Most games only lasted about six innings.

When baseball is no longer fun?

‘When baseball is no longer fun, it’s no longer a game,’ said Joe DiMaggio on Dec.11, 1951.

Is baseball longer than football?

Criticism #1: “It’s too slow.” – Let’s interpret this to mean the pace of play. If football and basketball fans claim that baseball is significantly slower than its counterparts, it seems logical to assume that’s being said because the alternatives are high-speed, action-packed, adrenaline fests where something is always happening.

Ooh, except that’s not true. An NFL game has just eleven minutes of actual gameplay; and the average NFL play lasts four seconds, This is so pathetic it makes me want to laugh. Four seconds is like the time it takes for a batter to hit a single foul ball. And eleven minutes is roughly as long as it takes to boil most pasta! To be fair to baseball’s critics, back in 2013, the Wall Street Journal found that the actual play of a baseball game is only about eighteen to twenty minutes,

Even so, that’s longer than the actual play of a football game. Aside from those 11 minutes in a football game, guess what the players are doing? Standing around. This means there’s essentially an equal amount of time for the players standing around in both sports.

I’m going to say it louder for the people in the back. Football and baseball players stand around for a comparably equal amount of time. The key difference? Baseball is obsessed with improving its pace of play. From pitch clocks to automatic strike zones, nothing is outside the realm of possibility for Manfred to meddle with.

Some of it could be good, and some of it is bad. The one constant through recent years — if I can briefly quote James Earl Jones here — is that “baseball has marked the time,” As in, time spent talking ad nauseum about how to “fix” baseball’s pace of play.

Can a baseball game last 5 hours?

There is no set time limit for a baseball game. The shortest major league game on record was just under an hour. The longest one was just over 8 hours! A lot has to do with whether or not a game goes into extra innings.

What is the shortest MLB game ever played?

Nine innings in 51 minutes: Major League Baseball’s fastest game ever N o matter how many rules Major League adds to speed up play, it is safe to say that no two teams will ever be able to beat the record for the fastest nine-inning game in big-league history: 51 minutes.

  1. Not one hour and 51 minutes.
  2. Fifty-one minutes.
  3. On 28 September 1919, five days before the Cincinnati Reds met the Chicago White Sox in an infamous World Series tattered by gambling, the New York Giants beat the, 6-1, in New York in the first game of a doubleheader – in 51 minutes.
  4. The date of the game had a lot to do with the speed at which it was played.

Because only National and American League champions participated in the postseason, 28 September marked the end of the 1919 season for the second-place Giants (87-53) and last-place Phillies (47-90). So players had incentive for wrapping it up quickly so they could head back to the hinterlands for the winter.

  1. Moreover, the final scheduled games of the season, to be played on 29 and 30 September, were moved up so the Giants could stage a Sunday doubleheader at the Polo Grounds.
  2. Two games for the price of one always draws fans.
  3. There was no NFL then, either.
  4. The Phillies thought the fast game was a great idea.

They wanted the season to be over. They’d played in the 1915 World Series, losing to the Boston Red Sox, but had slipped into the National League cellar in 1919, where they would finish again in 1920. Jack Coombs, a first-time manager, was fired on 7 July with the Phils stumbling at 18-44.

Accomplishing something in record time was in fashion back in those days. According to the new Illustrated Daily News (later the New York Daily News), the record for a big-league nine-inning game had been 56 minutes, set by the Giants and Brooklyn on 30 August 1918. (According to, however, the Brooklyn Robins took a tidy 55 minutes to seal a 3-1 victory over the Reds only a week before the Phillies-Giants game.) “Both Giants and Phils agreed to go after the speed record before the game started,” the Daily News reported.

“That they shattered the mark and still scored seven runs is remarkable. The men went up intent on smacking the first pitch. They did for the most part, and this led to the hasty finish.” Bill Klem, the legendary no-nonsense umpire who was known as ‘The Arbitrator’ (and set a big-league record with 251 ejections), was assigned to home plate.

He apparently had no problem with the arrangement. “The game had progressed almost six innings before the spectators became fully aware of the fact that the clubs with a little hustling could finish the game in record time,” the New York Sun reported the next day. “About the sixth inning, when the saw that the players were running to and from their positions, urged on by Umpire Klem, they realized the teams were really hustling.” The Giants’ starting pitcher was Jesse Barnes, seeking his 25th victory of the season.

Barnes was even better than usual in a complete-game effort that day, allowing five hits and one unearned run, which the Phillies scored with two outs in the top of the first. Probably owing to the fact that the Phillies were so eager to swing, he did not walk a batter and struck out only two – “nor did he hit anybody,” the Sun reported.

He retired 17 straight batters between the first and seventh innings. The New York American reported he threw only 64 pitches, setting a big-league record. “The Phillies were entirely baffled by his twisters,” the Sun reported. “They got only two hits up to the seventh inning. For the first five innings, the New York outfielders did not have a putout, and they accumulated only two after that.” The Giants fared much better against Philadelphia pitcher Lee ‘Specs’ Meadows, who failed to avoid his 20th loss of the season.

Meadows gave up 13 hits and six runs, all earned, but he walked just three hitters and lasted all nine innings, helping to move things along. It also helped that the Giants scored all six of their runs in the first six innings. The New York Times, careful as ever, labeled the game as “certainly the fastest game played in the major leagues in many years, and probably a record”.

  1. The same two teams had played nine innings in 32 minutes in 1913, but that was an exhibition (in more ways than one).
  2. Further, the Times reported that in the 51-minute game that “there was no unusual effort to make a speed record until the Phils’ half of the ninth.
  3. At that time, it became apparent to the players that they could do something unusual, and for a half-inning, they hustled.” “Even with two out in the closing inning, Luderus poked a hit to centre-field, and he did not attempt to walk into any putout,” the Times reported.

The next batter, Phillies’ shortstop Dave Bancroft, did walk into a putout, sending a check-swing roller to New York second baseman Larry Doyle, who tagged out Bancroft. The Times later sniffed, “Bancroft’s effort with two down in the ninth was the only part of the game in which real effort was lacking.” It did take some effort for the players to sprint in and out from the field.

So Mathewson sat his regulars in the second game, which New York won, 7-1. The star of that game was a 22-year-old rookie named Frankie Frisch, a Bronx kid known as ‘The Fordham Flash’, who played in the big leagues until 1937 and was a Hall of Fame inductee in 1947. What the Phils and Giants did that day was no small feat.

According to, the average big-league game in 1920 was played in 1hr 51min, a full hour longer than the historic game at the Polo Grounds. (There was no time recorded for the second game.) Just the 2min 15sec commercial breaks between half-innings account for a minimum of 36 minutes per game today, so big-league players would really have to hurry to beat the Giants and Phillies some 104 years later.

What is the shortest 9 inning baseball game?

What was fastest baseball game ever? Monday night’s Blue Jays-White Sox game was a remarkable 1 hour, 54 minutes long, the shortest major-league game in four years. But what is the fastest nine-inning in MLB history? That would be the Sept.28, 1919, game between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Phillies in the Polo Grounds.

Behind pitcher Jesse Barnes, the Giants won 6-1. Barnes threw a complete game, striking out two and walking none. Phillies pitcher Lee Meadows also threw a complete game and took the loss. George “High Pockets” Kelly had three hits for the Giants and scored once. Time of the game : 51 minutes. But the fastest game in professional baseball history was three years earlier, on Aug.30, 1916, in Asheville, N.C., between the Asheville Tourists and the Winston-Salem Twins.

“It was one of the last games of the 1916 Class D regular season, and the Twins had a three o’clock train to catch out of Asheville,” according to a story. “The problem? The game was scheduled to start at 2 o’clock.” So the two teams agreed to start more than a half-hour early and to play as quickly as possible, the pitchers lobbed the ball and the batters swung at the first pitch.

Is there a mercy rule in MLB?

No, MLB has no mercy rule. However, it’s a rare occurrence (albeit, more often occurring with today’s home run or bust hitting mentality) that a score gets so out of hand that we ponder one. In baseball, you can score runs in increments of one, two, three or four.

Why do baseball games start 5 minutes after?

As Quora User mentioned, games are scheduled to start after the hour to allow time for pre-game rituals (anthem, first pitch, line-up) and commentary (and a commercial break) in TV broadcasts, which start on the hour. Most games start at something logical like :05 or :10 past the hour.

How many minutes is a baseball innings?

How long does a baseball inning last? – The length of a baseball inning can vary depending on many factors, such as the number of runs scored, the number of batters faced, and the number of outs made. Typically, an inning lasts around 20-30 minutes, with most lasting closer to 20 minutes.

How many innings does a baseball game last?

Introduction – Baseball is a game played between two teams of nine players each. The game is divided into nine innings, each divided into two halves. In the top half of the inning, the players of one team successively come to bat and attempt to score runs, while the other team plays in the field and attempts to stop the offensive team from scoring.

  • In the bottom half, the teams swap places.
  • The team with more runs at the end of nine innings is the winner of the game.
  • The game is played on a diamond-shaped playing field, the four corners of the diamond being formed by home plate, first base, second base and third base.
  • In the middle of the infield is the pitcher’s mound, where the pitcher stands to pitch the ball to the batter.

The area beyond the infield, bordered by the first and third baselines, is called the outfield. During an inning, the pitcher of the defensive team throws the ball toward member of the offensive team currently in batting position at home plate. The batter attempts to hit the ball with the bat to a location out of the reach of the defensive players in the field and run around the bases.

How many innings is the longest baseball game?

Major League Baseball – The longest game by innings in Major League Baseball was a 1–1 tie in the National League between the Boston Braves and the Brooklyn Robins in 26 innings, at Braves Field in Boston on May 1, 1920, It had become too dark to see the ball (fields did not have lights yet and the sun was setting), and the game was considered a draw.

Played rapidly by modern standards, those 26 innings were completed in 3 hours and 50 minutes. As was the custom, the first pitch was thrown at 3:00 p.m., home plate umpire Barry McCormick called the game as lights began appearing in the windows of buildings across the Charles River, just before 7:00 p.m.

The longest American League game, and tied for the longest major league game by innings which ended with one team winning, was a 7–6 victory by the Chicago White Sox over the Milwaukee Brewers in 25 innings, at Comiskey Park in Chicago in 1984, The game began at 7:30 p.m.

  1. On May 8, 1984, and after scoring early runs both teams scored twice in the 8th inning; but the game was suspended after 17 innings with the score tied 3–3 due to a league curfew rule prohibiting an inning from beginning after 12:59 a.m.
  2. The game was continued the following evening, May 9, 1984, and both teams scored three times in the 21st inning to make the score 6–6, finally, in the bottom of the 25th, the White Sox’ Harold Baines hit a walk-off home run to end the contest.

Tom Seaver was the winning pitcher in relief, A regularly scheduled game followed, meaning both nights saw 17 innings played; Seaver also started, and won, the second game 5–4. The official time of the entire 25-inning game was 8 hours, 6 minutes, also a major league record.

On September 11, 1974, the St. Louis Cardinals won a marathon night game against the New York Mets, after 7 hours, 4 minutes, and 25 innings. This, the longest National League contest, is also tied for the longest game played to a decision in major league history. Two Mets errors led to the Cardinals’ winning run, starting with an errant pickoff throw that allowed Bake McBride to scamper all the way around from first.

St. Louis won, 4–3. The Mets went to the plate 103 times, a record in a major league game; the Cards were not far behind with 99 plate appearances. All told, a record 175 official at-bats were recorded, with a major-league record 45 runners stranded. Only a thousand fans were still at Shea Stadium when the game ended at 3:13 a.m.

  • On September 12.
  • Unlike the American League, the National League had no curfew.
  • This was the longest game played to a decision without a suspension.
  • On April 15, 1968, the Houston Astros defeated the Mets 1–0 in a 24-inning game at the Houston Astrodome,
  • The 6-hour, 6-minute contest, which ended with the Astros’ Bob Aspromonte hitting a grounder through the legs of Mets shortstop Al Weis in the bottom of the 24th, remains the longest shutout game in major league history.

It also had the most scoreless innings (23) in a major-league game. The longest American League game to end in a tie was a 24-inning contest between the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Athletics on July 21, 1945, The teams were tied 1–1 when the game was called due to darkness at Shibe Park ; the Tigers’ Les Mueller had pitched a record 19 2 ⁄ 3 innings, giving up one run before being taken out in the 20th inning.

  • The longest game to end in a scoreless tie was a National League contest between the Cincinnati Reds and Brooklyn Dodgers on September 11, 1946,
  • The teams went 19 innings before darkness fell at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, forcing the game to be called on account of darkness.
  • In the American League, the longest 0–0 game was played between the Washington Senators and Detroit Tigers on July 16, 1909,

The game was called after 18 innings due to darkness at Bennett Park in Detroit. The longest scoreless period within a completed game came in the April 15, 1968 game between the Astros and Mets which remained scoreless after 23 innings. The Washington Senators became the first team in Major League history to play multiple games of at least 20 innings in a season when they defeated the Minnesota Twins 9–7 in 20 innings on August 9, 1967, after winning a 22-inning game over the Chicago White Sox on June 12 of that year.

This feat would later be accomplished by the 1971 Oakland Athletics who had games of 21 and 20 innings and the 1989 Los Angeles Dodgers who played two 22-inning contests. The longest doubleheader in Major League history was on May 31, 1964, The San Francisco Giants beat the New York Mets 5–3 in nine innings in the day’s first game at Shea Stadium, and then won the nightcap 8–6 after 23 innings.

The two games lasted a combined nine hours, 52 minutes. The Mets’ Ed Kranepool played in all 32 innings of the two games; Kranepool had been called up to the team that day after having played in both games of a doubleheader the day before for their Triple-A club in Buffalo.

  1. On April 5, 2012, the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Cleveland Indians 7–4 in 16 innings.
  2. The five-hour, 14-minute game was the longest Opening Day game in Major League history.
  3. On June 8, 2013, the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Texas Rangers 4–3 in 18 innings while the Miami Marlins beat the New York Mets 2–1 in 20 innings.

This was the second time in Major League history that two games of 18 innings or more were played on same day; the first was August 15, 2006. In the 2013 season, the Arizona Diamondbacks set a major league record by playing 78 extra innings. This broke the season record of 76 extra innings played by the Minnesota Twins in 1969,