Preston: Eddie Rommel and the oddest pitching line ever

From SABR member J.G. Preston at The J.G. Preston Experience on May 4, 2013:

I realize this game has been written about quite a few times over the past 81 years, so my goal here is to try to add something to the discussion. The game and performance in question is the Athletics at Cleveland, July 10, 1932, when Eddie Rommel pitched 17 innings in relief (!) and set records that will surely never be broken for most batters faced as a relief pitcher (87), most hits allowed in a game (29) and most runs allowed by a winning pitcher (14).

My thanks to Norman L. Macht, whose article in the Society for American Baseball Research‘s 2008 publication “Batting Four Thousand: Baseball in the Western Reserve” (not available online) is the most thorough contemporary piece I have found about the game. Norman told me the Cleveland newspaper had the play-by-play of the game (which is not yet available through Retrosheet), which led me to find that the digital archives of the Cleveland Plain Dealer are online (for a fee) and allowed me to add to this post.

The three factors that made Rommel’s unusual performance possible were weather, Pennsylvania’s blue laws and the Great Depression (which could share billing with Connie Mack’s frugality). Let’s tackle them one at a time before detailing Rommel’s performance.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: May 6, 2013. Last Updated: May 6, 2013.