Remembering one of the longest games in baseball history

Published 11:45 pm Monday, August 6, 2018

This year’s Atlanta Braves squad is surpassing everybody’s expectations. The Braves are in the thick of the race for the National League Eastern Division title and a berth in the playoffs. Hardly anybody expected them to be competitive this year.

Many of us remember the glory years from 1991 to 2005. This would be the “Golden Age” of Atlanta Braves Baseball. They won 14-straight division titles and appeared in the World Series five times in the 1990s. They were able to win a World Series title in 1995. They clinched the series in Game 6 on Saturday, Oct. 28, 1995, by winning 1-0. I had the pleasure of actually being there for that game. I paid $250 for a ticket. I don’t regret it one bit. Tom Glavine pitched a one-hitter and David Justice homered in the sixth inning. Most of you probably remember that night. Who knows, perhaps those days might be coming back.

However, before 1991, the Braves endured six years of really bad baseball, beginning in 1985. During that period, the Braves either finished in last place or next to last. Only those of us in our 40s and older will remember those dark years. As I recall, they had some great offensive players: Centerfielder Dale Murphy, who, according to, hit 398 home runs in his career. There were Bob Horner, Claudell Washington and Chris Chambliss. There was a lot of power in that lineup. Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium used to be called the “Launching Pad” because the Braves hit so many home runs back then. Their problem was poor pitching. For example, On July 5, 1986, the Braves lost to the now-extinct Montreal Expos and Bob Horner hit four home runs in that game.

I mentioned all of that because I want to tell you about one of the most thrilling, exciting and strangest of all baseball games I have ever seen in person. In spite of the losing, this was a game for the ages.

It was July 4, 1985. It was the Braves against the New York Mets. It rained all day and into the night, but the umpires still wanted to get the game in. The game was delayed because of rain, and the game didn’t begin, as I recall, until after 9 p.m. The game went 19 innings and included another rain delay. It ended at almost 4 a.m., with the Mets winning 16-13. The Braves decided to go ahead and shoot off fireworks at 4 a.m. on July 5. According to published reports, the game ended at exactly 3:55 a.m. I had always thought it ended at 3:20 a.m. As we watched the fireworks, I can remember my brother saying that people would think Atlanta was being attacked by the Russians. Sure enough, according to numerous published reports, when the fireworks started, locals called the police because they thought the city was under attack. Being that it was 33 years and 24 days ago, I don’t remember everything, so I did some research and found some interesting facts about that game. According to Jason Foster of, the Mets’ Keith Hernandez nearly hit for the cycle in that game. In fact, Hernandez would have succeeded had he not been robbed of a base hit in the sixth inning. He hit a line drive to Dale Murphy, who at first appeared to have caught the ball, but actually dropped it. However, the umpires said Murphy caught it and called Hernandez out. I had also forgotten who the starting pitchers were for that game. According to published reports, it was Rick Mahler for the Braves and eventual Cy Young Award-winner Dwight Gooden for the Mets.

Our whole family was there: my Dad, Mom, brother and two sisters, along with my older sister’s boyfriend at the time. I was having a blast. My mother, brother and younger sister hated it. My brother said, “I swear. I will never set foot in this stadium again.” I remember Braves relief pitcher Rick Camp hitting a home run to tie the game in extra innings. What I didn’t realize was that, according to published reports, the Braves hit two game-tying home runs in extra innings. The first was off the bat of Terry Harper in the bottom of the 13th inning to tie the score at 10-10. I thought that was when Rick Camp hit his home run. However, according to published reports, Camp’s home run came in the bottom of the 18th inning to tie the game at 11-11. According to Foster, Camp was batting.060 before that home run. That’s worse than I thought he was hitting.

There were other interesting details about this game that took place that I didn’t realize had happened, even though I was there. I don’t have time to get into all of them. By the way, on July 4, 1986, our family was at the Braves game again, including my brother. Being at that July 4, 1985, game and witnessing history was one of the highlights of my life. If you remember watching that game or, better yet, if you were there, I’d like to hear from you.


You can reach Ken Gustafson at