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BASEBALL'S LONGEST GAME

They Don't Finish What They Start

May 01, 2003|Howie Stalwick

Complete games -- the nine-inning kind, never mind 26 innings -- have long been in decline in baseball.

In 1920, major league pitchers threw 1,395 complete games. Last year, despite 30 teams playing far more games than the 16 major league teams did in 1920, only 224 complete games were recorded.

Arizona led the major leagues with 14 complete games last season, eight by Randy Johnson, who tied Bartolo Colon for the lead.

In 1904, Boston Pilgrim (now Red Sox) pitchers set a major league record by throwing 148 complete games. The bullpen was called upon only nine times all season.

That same year, Jack Chesbro of the New York Highlanders (now Yankees) set a modern-day -- since 1900 -- major league record by completing 48 of his 51 starts.

-- Howie Stalwick

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