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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Keith Hernandez remembers the 25 inning game but not what followed.

This is a cautionary tale of baseball memory.  We're so sure we remember correctly but often it's not so.

Oct. 3, 2010 by slgckgc via Wikimedia Commons
Monday I was sort of watching the Mets exhibition game against the St. Louis Cardinals.  Actually, I was switching between that and the replay of the Yankee game against Toronto from Sunday.  Keith Hernandez does color commentary for the Mets.  He played for the Cardinals and later the Mets.

The play-by-play announcer mentioned a 25 inning game between the teams in 1974.  Bob Gibson started for St. Louis; Gibson led the league in home runs allowed in 1974 and threw only 109 innings (ERA 5.04) in 1975, his final season.  Hernandez was a Cardinal rookie playing in only his seventh game; in the 12th he PH for SS Mike Tyson and flied out to right.  Hernandez said that he remembered the game well and that early in the morning they had to take a bus to Philadelphia to play later that day and that the game went 17 innings.

I looked it up:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/STL/1974-schedule-scores.shtml

As you can see the 25 inning game in Shea Stadium New York started on Sept. 11, 1974.  The Cardinals played another game there Sept. 12; Hernandez 0 for 1.  On Sept. 13 the Cardinals played a 17 inning game in Philadelphia; Hernandez 3 for 7, plus a walk.

The Cardinals won all three as the start of a six game winning streak.  Hernandez was pretty close but not right.  He lost that middle game.  In his mind the two Met games merged.

It's a small point but easily verifiable.  Maybe the Met announcer corrected Hernandez later while I was watching the Yankees or snoozing.  Maybe not.  It's easy to check now.  They could have done it on the spot.  It took me about a minute.

How his Cardinals got to Philadelphia is not specified.  Maybe Hernandez got that right.

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