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Bottom of the 33rd: Hope and Redemption in Baseball's Longest Game

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  1,175 ratings  ·  210 reviews
On April 18, 1981, a ball game sprang eternal. What began as a modestly attended minor-league game between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings became not only the longest ever played in baseball history, but something else entirely. The first pitch was thrown after dusk on Holy Saturday, and for the next eight hours the night seemed to suspend its participant ...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published April 12th 2011 by HarperCollins e-books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,723)
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Will Byrnes
(See the link, at bottom, to a wonderful article Barry wrote for the NY Times)

In the song Take Me Out to the Ballgame there is a particular line that comes into play here. Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack. I don’t care if I never get back. That sentiment was put to the test on April 18, 1981, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, when the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings played the longest game in professional baseball history. Given that the song is generally sung in the middle of the 7t
...more
Tim "The Enchanter"
Posted to The Literary Lawyer.ca

My #2 Read of 2014

Best Baseball Book I Have Ever Read - 5 Stars

I am writing this review about 9 months after having read this. I have been putting off writing this review as I have been finding it difficult to express my feelings on the subject. For me, the game of baseball holds a special place in my heart. Whenever I have a chance to sit down and watch a game, it brings back feelings that I have had since childhood. Feelings of excitement, anticipation
...more
♥Belleza★✰
Baseball is my favorite sport, I am counting the days until it starts again. I’m not kidding, I have a countdown clock on my phone and every morning I look at it and get all excited about how many days until pitchers and catchers report for spring training. It therefore should not be surprising that when I was at the library and walking past the non-fiction section my eyes were drawn to the baseball books.

On September 22, 2012 the Yankees played the A’s, that game lasted 14 innings, 5 hours and
...more
Steve
In 1981, I was 16 and following the Columbus Clippers, then the Triple-A farm team for the New York Yankees. The Clippers were part of the International League, of which the Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings were part, as well. I saw all these teams play several times a year, and saw several of the players (and managers) make it to the big leagues. If I remember right, the Columbus Clippers even ended up taking the Governor's Cup that year.

In the beginning of the 1981 season, though, the
...more
James
In the 30 years since Rochester's Red Wings and Pawtucket's Red Sox battled into the wee hours of a frigid Easter morning, the fascination with baseball's longest game hasn't waned. If anything, the marathon contest, which featured future Hall of Famers Cal Ripken and Wade Boggs, has ascended to legendary status, staking its claim among the sport's classic duels. What began as a routine Saturday night affair April 18, 1981, spilled into Sunday before eventually wrapping up two months later as a ...more
Diane
Major League Baseball just opened up another season, so the perfect book to read this week is Dan Barry's Bottom of the 33rd- Hope, Redemption, and Baseball's Longest Game.

The game took place on April 18, 1981, Holy Saturday, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The Triple A League Pawtucket Red Sox hosted the Rochester Red Wings. The Sox had future superstar Wade Boggs on their team, the Red Wings had the incomparable Cal Ripken Jr. at third base.

But Barry wisely does not put those superstars at the cen
...more
Daniel Currie
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. Thanx!

It sounds like an interesting premise and it is, but the execution...

It is all about the longest game in organized baseball history. But the game itself was not that interesting. Only a few runs scored. There are some future Hall of Famers in the game, but they didn't play an integral part.

Since there isn't that much of the game to write about (maybe 10% is about the actual game) it has to rely on the people and their backstories. It was obviously
...more
Samuel Winchester
On April 18th, 1981, the Rochester Red Wings and Pawtucket Red Sox began what would become the longest game ever played in professional baseball. In a 33 inning epic contest featuring two future Hall of Famers, and many more has-beens, each side would refuse to yield, finishing the game, Dan Barry argues, because they were "duty bound" and "loyal" to it.

It was for similar reasons that I finished this book.

Dan Barry uses the game to tell the fascinating stories of a select few men and boys who ar
...more
Matt Simmons
A very, very enjoyable book. The allegory is perhaps too thick--it's a book about redemption, and the game in question takes place from Holy Saturday to Easter Sunday and lasts 33 innings, 33 being the age of Christ--but it seems, in its own odd way, charming. The best sportswriting is always about being a bit too sentimental, a bit too melodramatic; it almost has to be. After all, what we're talking about is essentially a children's game, and we're using this game to illustrate and find out abo ...more
Co2
Many news reporters love to write about baseball, it has a lot of spaces which they can fill with some creativity. Not something you can do with news stories. Barry lives up to the challenge. He's first a great reporter and next has the story telling abilities to pull this off.

It’s hard for me to describe this book, my fault, not Barry's. The book takes people who have the longest game in the history of professional baseball in common and weaves their stories together. It's a daunting assignment
...more
Gerry
A great book about one very, very, long game. I am hesitant to put anything about the story within as it has many twists, turns, and an ending I wasn't quite expecting. In the end this book will make any person reflect and you will be happy that you read the story. If you like baseball or sports in general then you will find that this story will make you laugh outloud along the way. Oddly enough I feel to be a better person because I read this story. The characters are many, the event worthy of ...more
Jay
Dan Barry mines the longest baseball game for interesting things to talk about. He is like a color commentator for this game, describing the people in the stands, the ball players, the owner, all their wives and kids, the batboy, and on. He mentions the teams burned old bats to keep warm quite during the game a few times (maybe 5 times -- that's too repetitive). It was a lot like watching an 8 hour game would have been on TV, you start realizing you are hearing the same things over again. This a ...more
Charly
Oct 13, 2011 Charly rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone, especially baseball and Red Sox fans.
This was an absolutely wonderful approach to a wonderful story. Barry found a way to really humanize the tale of the longest game and made it about the players in the game and not the game. His approach of stepping aside from the narrative of the game to tell how a given player got to that point in the game and where he would go from there, was wonderful.

To have been at Mc Coy in the pre-Ben Mondor era, and having purchased this book at the current jewel of a AAA stadium that Mc Coy has become s
...more
Lyn
In the cold night of a Rhode Island April, two minor league teams began a baseball game that would not be over for another 8 hours. Thus begins the journalistic novel by Dan Berry about the 1981 game between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings both of the International League.

Well researched and balanced, this entertaining account is more than just the story about the longest recorded game in baseball history, Berry has masterfully combined history, psychology and sociology to tel
...more
Diane

The title of this book refers to the longest baseball game, played between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings in 1981. But, the book is really about playing baseball in the minor leagues and the hopes and dreams of the minor league players to make it to the majors. In between the eternal innings, we follow the history of various players, the batboy, the coaches, the owner of the team and the ball park itself. Wayne Boggs and Cal Ripkin, Jr. are players in this longest game, and th
...more
Todd Stockslager
Review title: Baseball sprung eternal
On the Saturday and Sunday of Easter 1981 the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings played the longest professional baseball game ever. Thirty years later Dan Barry retells the story of the game through the stories of its key participants: the future Hall of Famers (Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken, Jr.), the ones who finally made it to the show (Joe Morgan and Rich German), and those who toiled in obscurity in Pawtucket, Elmira, Winter Haven, and a hundred
...more
Nan
I wish I could give this more than 5 stars. Like, maybe a gazillion?

I bought this because it's about the longest game ever played in professional baseball. 33 innings, I kid you not. And if that had been all the book was about, I would have been happy with it.

But, first of all, it is so well written, one of the best I've ever read in a life of reading A LOT!
Barry makes you see it, smell it, feel it. His sense of pacing is impeccable. For example, he'll introduce the next player up to bat -- and
...more
Keith
You'd think an inning by inning account of a thirty-three inning minor league baseball game would be a read for a very small niche of sports aficionados, which would be incorrect. The subtitle: Hope, Redemption, and Baseball's Longest Game clarifies the title, for it a book of hope and redemption set against the backdrop of that game. It reminded me a long forgotten book of baseball stories I read as a baseball playing boy on the Plains of west Dakota. I was lying in bed with a broken ankle, fr ...more
Chris
I, absolutely, loved this book. Dan Barry should take pride in the way he gives voice to the minor league players, in this game, that dedicated a huge percentage of their young lives to achieving a dream that almost always go unfullfilled.

It was a treat reading a book about my two favorite teams in baseball, the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Redsox. It was even a sweeter trip down memory lane reading not only about players (the success stories) I grew up watching: Floyd 'Sugar Bear' Rayford
...more
Hal Brodsky
This is probably the best book you've never heard of. A stunning blend of thoroughly researched journalism, baseball lore, and often gorgeous writing (think Ray Bradbury during his "Dandelion Wine" phase), this book chronicles an interminable 1981 minor league baseball game that happened to feature a number of future major leaguers (including eventual Hall of Famers Cal Ripkin, Jr and Wade Boggs) and more importntly and predictably a host of others who never quite made it. The author during a se ...more
Edward
This is an account of the longest game in baseball history, played between Rochester (New York) and Pawtucket (Rhode Island), starting on a Saturday and extending until 4 AM on Easter Sunday, April 18, 1981.It was finally suspended after 32 innings, score tied 2-2. At that point, there were 19 fans left in the stands. The game was resumed two months later to a packed stadium of over 6000 and lasted only one more inning before the winning run was scored.

What is there of interest to say about a g
...more
Jonathan
In the book the Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption, and Baseball's Longest Game by Dan Barry, a nonfiction sports story, Barry dives into a grueling 33 inning game between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings. Through the story Barry examines certain stories and ambitions of fans, players, umpires, and even broadcasters. Interesting questions like why were the two squads still playing in the bottom of the 33rd and why did they not stop two hours ago were posed and intelligently an ...more
Brennan Lowe
Minor league baseball has never seemed more depressing to me than after having read Bottom of the 33rd. That doesn't mean I enjoyed the book any less because of it, mind you, but my outlook on what a successful career in baseball is changed dramatically by the time I was halfway through. It's a sobering account (I think the word "futility" should have been included somewhere in the title) of a group of mostly-forgotten players, but I was captivated by Dan Barry's thorough background reporting on ...more
Caroline
If, in the first 50 or so pages, you had told me that I was going to give this book four stars, I would have laughed you out of the room.

Why? One word: overwriting. This might be my very favorite bit of completely over-the-top purple prose I've ever read:

"Here, too, is the home plate umpire, with red hair as fiery as his desire to become a major-league umpire someday."

Every time I think about this sentence, it makes me laugh. It's become a running joke, where I periodically ask Tom if his red ha
...more
Michael Brockley
Dan Barry's BOTTOM OF THE 33RD is a historical account of the longest professional baseball game, the titanic struggle between the visiting Rochester Red Wings and the host Pawtucket Red Sox during a game that took place on April 18 and 19 and June 23, 1981. Among the participants were Cal Ripken, Jr., Wade Boggs, Rich Gedman, Bruce Hurst and winning pitcher Bob Ojeda. But the interesting tales within the marathon are those of the batboys, the Pawtucket executives, the wife who wouldn't kept her ...more
Alisa
Apr 17, 2011 Alisa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: baseball fans
Outstanding book. It is an unrivaled moment in baseball history, the longest game ever played, by an author who captured the essence of the event, the game, the place, and everyone involved in this unique moment in time. Great books transform you into the scene and involves you in such a way that makes you feel like you are there. The author adeptly weaves in the back stories of the people involved in the game - everybody including the spectators, players for both teams, their families, the bat ...more
Sher
Oh, what a game! It was fun to listen to the details of this game, played by 3A teams from Rhode Island and New York in 1981. It was very interesting to learn a little bit about the lives of some of the players, some who made it to major league, and more who did not. I grew up with a father and brothers who were crazy about baseball, so I learned a lot about it at an early age. Some people stake their whole life's dreams on making it in professional sports, but when it comes right down to it, it ...more
Jim
This book is a wonder! It is an insightful look into professional baseball’s longest game and just about everyone who had some part in it, who they are, what brought them here on this historic night, and what became of them. The game began on a Holy Saturday night and spilled over to Easter morning, appropriate timing because the story though true seems unbelievable.

The game stayed in progress so long that it became equal parts inspiration and desperation, much like some of the player’s careers.
...more
Laura
I won this book from First Reads. Thanks!

You don't have to be a baseball fan to enjoy this book. This story was about the longest game in baseball. But it was also the story of all of the people that make a baseball organization tick. I hate to use the term "human interest", but the book was so much more than the game.

I loved the way Dan Barry took you through the game at a meandering pace, much like the game itself. He would begin a segment by describing the current play, and who was involved,
...more
Deena
Got this via First Reads (thanks!!) for my husband, whose religion is baseball. I'll post a real review as soon as he reads it.

And, finally, my husband has written his review of this book:
The story is told that John Kruk, a major league baseball first baseman and outfielder of the 80s and 90s, was having dinner in a restaurant and afterwards, as one could in those days, he lit a cigarette. A woman patron of the restaurant had recognized Kruk and went over to him to lecture him about the bad exam
...more
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