Today baseball pitchers throw a few innings of baseball and they are relieved by fresh pitchers. A pitcher may throw between 4 and 7 innings – possibly as many as 120 pitches. Back in 1920, two pitchers dueled for 26 innings – no relievers.
“In Boston, Brooklyn’s Leon Cadore and the Braves’ Joe Oeschger duel 26 innings to a 1-1 tie in the longest game ever played in the major leagues. Oeschger shuts out the Dodgers for the last 21 innings, topping Art Nehf’s 20 scoreless frames in a row on August 1, 1918. He gives up nine hits and Cadore allows 12.” – From Today In Baseball History.
“In Bostonâ€š Brooklyn’s Leon Cadore and the Braves’ Joe Oeschger duel 26 innings to a 1-1 tie in the longest game ever played in the ML. Oeschger shuts out the Dodgers for the last 21 inningsâ€š topping Art Nehf’s 20 scoreless frames in a row on August 1â€š 1918. He gives up 9 hitsâ€š and Cadore allows 12â€š in the 3-hourâ€š 50-minute battleâ€š the longest marathon (26 inn.) any 2 pitchers have hurled this century. An unusual double play occurs in the 17th inning when the bases are loaded with one out. A grounder to P Oeschger results in a throw homeâ€š forcing the runner. C Hank Gowdy’s throw to 1B Walter Holke is fumbledâ€š and when the runner tries to score from 2Bâ€š the throw back to Gowdy nips the sliding Ed Konetchy. Holke must have been tired as he made a first baseman’s record of 42 putouts in the gameâ€š while Cadoreâ€š who sets a NL record (ties ML) for assists by a pitcher (12) as well as batters faced (96) in a gameâ€š will spend the next 36 hours in bed. Oeschger faces 90 batters. The Dodgers lose to the Phils at home in 13 innings the next dayâ€š then return to Boston for a Monday game where they lose again in 19. For 58 innings work in 3 daysâ€š they will be 0-2.” From Charlton’s Baseball Chronology / Baseball Library