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

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  1,463 Ratings  ·  246 Reviews
Bottom of the 33rd is chaw-chewing, sunflower-spitting, pine tar proof that too much baseball is never enough.” —Jane Leavy, author of The Last Boy and Sandy Koufax

“What a book—an exquisite exercise in story-telling, democracy and myth-making.” —Colum McCann, winner of the National Book Award for Let The Great World Spin

From Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist
ebook, 272 pages
Published April 12th 2011 by HarperCollins e-books (first published April 12th 2010)
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Community Reviews

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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
Tim The Enchanter
Posted to The Literary

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
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
Mar 06, 2012 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 21, 2015 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Doreen Petersen
Feb 16, 2016 Doreen Petersen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
What a great read for those interested in baseball!!! I do love my baseball and I am my father's daughter in that respect. If you love sports or more specifically baseball in particular, run, don't wait to get this book and read it!
Apr 18, 2011 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 31, 2016 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
Ok, I admit that it's easy to romanticize baseball in the dead of winter,which is when I read this book. And it's more than touch ironic that I, who rarely watch games on tv now because they've become longer than most operas (and with less action, since the game is shriveling on endless strikeouts, walks and pitching changes), would find a book about the longest game in history so fascinating. But pass the Cracker Jacks, there it is. Barry is such a good writer that I couldn't wait to pick up th ...more
Matt Simmons
Feb 22, 2012 Matt Simmons rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Apr 20, 2011 Co2 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, sports
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
Jul 15, 2014 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 24, 2013 Gerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
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
Feb 11, 2016 HBalikov rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
April 18-19, 1981 - The longest game ever played; played almost all night long; played in the cold April of New England while many were finishing Saturday Passover or getting ready for Easter Sunday.

There are familiar names like Boggs and Ripken. There are names that can be mistaken such as Joe Morgan. There are a host of unknowns that never made it.

Barry gives us the background to the baseball field, the players and (for me as interesting) the support team including everyone from the ball boy t
Apr 17, 2011 Alisa rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Oct 13, 2011 Charly rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Feb 23, 2012 Jay rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball, audiobook
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
May 23, 2014 Diane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports, history

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
Oct 22, 2016 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
What a great idea for a book. To follow the progress of one seemingly meaningless minor league ball game that turns into the game for the ages...but examine it 30 years after it was played.

I really enjoyed this story. The author did a great job of interviewing the key players. I especially liked the way he would introduce a character and then go on to explain what happened to the person over the course of the next 30 years. And what an interesting cast of characters it was.

I'd highly recommend t
Apr 26, 2012 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Concerns the longest game in pro baseball history, Pawtucket vs Rochester AAA 1981 game that played out over 8 hours on a chilly Holy Saturday-into-Easter night, then was suspended after 32 innings and finished up a couple months later amid national media attention.

The game itself wasn't too significant, or seemingly exciting, so play by play is minimal and mainly an excuse to take off on tangents about the life stories of the managers, owners, fans, and of course players, some of whom went on t
Oct 08, 2016 MJ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a good baseball read but the beginning was too long winded.
Mar 06, 2012 Wingedbeaver rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Is there such thing as too much baseball? At its heart, this is the question “Bottom Of The 33rd” tries to address. When do we get too much of a good thing? When do years of trying to turn playing a kid’s game into a career become too long? At what point does waiting for a break through, whither that break through is a base hit or a single run or a major league call up or the publicity your minor league team desperately needs become tedious. Dan Barry does a beautiful job framing this theme wit ...more
Nov 24, 2014 Edward rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sep 26, 2016 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
Dan Barry finds the meaning behind all of the details in this otherwise meaningless game -- a minor-league baseball game that would blend in with the hundreds of other games in the dozens of other seasons, except that it became the longest game in professional baseball history. The factors that had to coincide to lead this game to seemingly never end are remarkable. But what made this book so enthralling is the masterful way Barry weaved together stories about all of the people involved. As a ba ...more
Todd Stockslager
Jun 01, 2015 Todd Stockslager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
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
Don LaFountaine
Jan 24, 2016 Don LaFountaine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Reading it made me feel as if I was actually at the game.

The story follows the longest game ever played in organized baseball history, both major and minor leagues. On April 18th, 1981, the game between the Pawtucket Redsox and the Rochester Red Wings lasted over 8 hours and 33 innings. The game started ominously with the lights not working and officials debating whether to call the game on this account. (How ironic that the longest game ever played was almost never played.) A
Connie Ciampanelli
I'll state it upfront: This is the best sports book I've ever read. And I'll admit that I am not at all objective; the Pawtucket Red Sox and McCoy stadium are the agent and locus of countless happy times for the Ciampanelli family. My husband and I and our two sons attended so many games in the early nineties that we counted ourselves among the diehard faithful in "our" section. Along with Lena, the old woman who cheered the team on with her home run whistle. "Joe," the elderly gentleman who inv ...more
Mark Ahrens
May 08, 2011 Mark Ahrens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pure serendipity is the only way I can explain how I came to be at Pawtucket’s McCoy stadium a few weeks ago to see the PawSox, Boston’s AAA team, take on the Syracuse Chiefs the farm team of the Washington Nationals. I had opened the morning paper and, only two hours away, lay a perfect game for my son and I to attend during his spring break. The weather was raw, windy, and generally inhospitable for viewing baseball –just like a game played in the same stadium 30 years ago.

On April 18th, 1981,
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Dan Barry is a longtime columnist and reporter for The New York Times and the author of four books, including the forthcoming “The Boys in the Bunkhouse: Servitude and Salvation in the Heartland.” Set to be released in May 2016, the book tells the story of dozens of men with intellectual disability who spent decades working at an Iowa turkey-processing plant, living in an old schoolhouse, and endu
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