Dodgers History – Dodgers defeat Cubs in 21 innings – August 18th, 1982
It took two days to complete the 21 inning marathon. The game was started on August 17th, and halted after 17 innings, tied at 1. It was completed on August 18th, when Dusty Baker in his ninth at bats hit a sacrifice fly to score Steve Sax who had doubled earlier in the inning. The Dodgers used eight pitchers, and six of those pitchers went multiple innings. Jerry Ruess came into to pitch the 18th on August 18th and pitched four shutout innings for the victory.
That would be noteworthy enough, but that 21-inning game also featured some creative managerial moves from the Dodgers’ Tommy Lasorda — even if it was out of necessity. In the 20th inning, Dodger third baseman Ron Cey was ejected by umpire Dave Pallone after he was picked off. Out of position players, Lasorda moved Pedro Guerrero from right field to third base and put pitcher Fernando Valenzuela in right field, while Baker stayed in left field.
“Lasorda put Fernando in left against a left-handed hitter and then I’d move for a right-handed hitter,” Baker said on Wednesday. “That was crazy. It was like running sprints during the game, because the umpires were like, ‘c’mon, c’mon, c’mon.’ I was like, ‘damn dude, I just got over here.’”
After Ryne Sandberg struck out, Larry Bowa hit the ball to right and was retired by Valenzuela for the second out of the inning. Then Baker moved to right field as Reuss faced the left-handed hitting Bill Buckner and Leon Durham. In the 21st inning, Bob Welch replaced Valenzuela in left field as Reuss faced Cubs pitcher Jerry Ruess. Baker and Welch switch positions with Jody Davis at the plate and then again when Steve Henderson grounded out to second to end the game.
Baker remembered going 1 for 9, but in reality he was 1 for 8 with a walk. He didn’t play in the second game.