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On This Day: Giants beat Phillies in MLB's Shortest Game



Even with the advent of the pitch clock, would you believe that a major league game -let alone a baseball game in general- was once completed in just 51 minutes? I know, I know, it just doesn't add up! A baseball game lasted less than an hour in a sport that is often filled with errors, fouls and strategic mound visits.


But that's exactly what happened in the first game of a doubleheader on September 28, 1919 at New York City's Polo Grounds between the Giants and the Phillies. While the Giants' 6-1 victory did little to sway the standings in the regular season finale, the record that these two teams set is sure to stand the test of time.


Interestingly, with both teams out of pennant contention, they decided to go after the year-old record that had been set by the Giants and Dodgers before the game had even begun. As crazy as it sounds now, the two teams truly believed that they could complete a game in under 56 minutes.



And they did just that. The game started inconspicuously with the Giants' Jesse Barnes giving up two hits, witnessing an error and forcing three groundouts while facing six Phillies batters and giving up a run. After that rough start, the Giants controlled the rest of the game.


The fireworks began in the bottom of the third with runners on second and third. Benny Kauff hit a single off of Philadelphia's Lee Meadows which George Burns and Ross Youngs turned into runs, giving the Giants a one-score cushion that they would never relinquish.


Two batters later, Kauff scored to both end the inning and extend the Giant's lead to 3-1. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Earl Smith drove in George Kelly. Two batters later, with Smith having been caught out at home off of a double, Burns hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Jess Barnes, giving his pitcher one last victory in an otherwise forgettable season.


When Fred Luderus was forced out at second base, the Giants and Phillies had accomplished the rare feat: they had completed a major league game in just 51 minutes. It remains the standard to this day and with television timeouts and advanced statistics ruling the sport like never before, that record is one of a few in the world of athletics that is assured to never be broken.




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