Breaking Records For Good
On Friday, May 17, a group of 52 St. Louis-area baseball players started the day energized and ready to play ball. They were setting out to to break the Guinness World Record for the longest baseball marathon, reaching their goal two days later at 192 innings and more than 62 hours of continuous play. After more than six months of preparation, the record-breaking game was hosted at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, IL—home to the minor league team the Gateway Grizzlies.
The players and umpires in this marathon of a ball game didn’t volunteer their time just for bragging rights. The record-breaking game served as a benefit for the recovery efforts in Joplin, MO, an area that was devastated by a tornado in May 2011. Spectators took part in a silent auction, placing bids on items like an autographed Yadier Molina photo, an autographed Sam Bradford Rams jersey and a base used on this year’s opening day at Busch Stadium. Proceeds, totaling over $75,000 and counting, go to the Joplin Chamber of Commerce Foundation to help the Joplin community rebuild and recover.
The game’s chief organizer, Chuck Williams, says it wasn’t hard to find guys in a baseball town like St. Louis, but he still chose players carefully. They had to be willing to devote quite a bit of time to the cause and keep going despite hunger and sleep deprivation, Chuck says, but they also had to have a good sense of humor about taking part in such a quirky event. All those chosen are members of adult baseball leagues in St. Louis and its surrounding areas.
The game ended Sunday, May 19 around 7:30pm with a score of 250 to 196 St. Louis. Whether on the St. Louis team or the Joplin team, though, every player wore the number 161 on his sleeve in remembrance of the 161 lives lost in result the disaster. And in the end, remembrance and charity was all that was important. “We’re there to raise money for people who need it,” Chuck says. “The world record is very secondary.”
As it turns out, this isn’t the first time St. Louisans have broken the record. Teams from St. Louis have achieved the feat in 2007, 2009 and 2012. The game that took place in 2012 was also to raise funds for Joplin. The latest world record-breaking game (though unofficial) took place in Bryan, TX in April 2013 and lasted 55 hours.
To learn more about the game, visit baseballforacause.lockerdome.com.
Photo courtesy of LockerDome.