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Filling the (MLB) Void: A Record Long WS Game and the Best Bet I Ever “Won”

Let’s look back at one of the longest games in World Series history and an incredible bet paying off for me and my friend.

Minute Maid Park, Houston TX by Roy Luck is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Filling the (MLB) Void: A Record Long WS Game and the Best Bet I Ever “Won”


Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Having a hard time with the Major League Baseball lockout? Yeah – us too. Especially when Spring Training should have started and there are still so many questions left to answer before the season can begin. So, we here at The Turf thought we’d offer a way to help ease that tension. While we may not have any current MLB baseball to watch live, there is PLENTY of archive footage available at our fingertips. We’ve scoured the internet and assembled some of the most iconicnoteworthy, and remarkable baseball games we could find. We also found some mundanerun of the mill stories, that seemed banal at first watch. However, at this point, we’ll take anything that resembles an MLB game, right? Until the lockout ends, we’ll feature one of the contests and provide you a link where you can relive the glory, exhilaration, and thrill from the comfort of your couch.

Let’s revisit Game 3 of the 2005 World Series between the Chicago White Sox and the Houston Astros

Some of you might be confused by this matchup in the World Series. The Astros have been an American League powerhouse over the last few seasons, but the franchise started in the National League. Houston made the switch to the AL in 2013.

This World Series is not one of the more memorable in postseason history as the White Sox swept the Astros. Game 3 remains notable as it tied a World Series record for longest game. That record has since been broken when Game 3 of the 2018 World Series between the Dodgers and Red Sox lasted 18 innings.

The White Sox took home this victory when they scored 2 runs in the top of the 14th inning. Some oddities of the game are Chicago only scored in the 5th and 14th innings. Also, Astros starter Roy Oswalt gave up 5 runs in that 5th inning while facing 11 hitters, and then still pitched the 6th inning and faced the first batter in the 7th. This seems especially crazy considering how quickly starting pitchers are currently removed in the postseason.

This game is a “classic” because of its duration, but I’ll never forget this game for an entirely different reason. It included the best sports bet I have ever “won”.

In 2005 I was a novice sports bettor, and if we’re being honest I have not improved that much over the last 17 years. My college roommate PJ and I had begun dabbling in NFL parlay bets and had some early success. By October though our bank had dwindled quite a bit. We had $5 left and we decided to take a big swing (literally, kind of).

Anyone can bet on the winning team in a game. We needed more than that. So we looked at odds for who would hit the first home run in the game. I don’t remember who had better odds, but we immediately locked onto Jason Lane at 14/1.

Lane had hit 26 home runs in the 2005 season, which was tied with Craig Biggio for 2nd most on the team after Morgan Ensberg’s 36. Lane also hit two home runs in the NLCS vs. the St. Louis Cardinals. Was he a lock? Obviously not, but we had a good feeling.

In the 2nd inning, Lane saw 10 pitches from White Sox starter Jon Garland while he worked a one-out walk. We got another chance to see if we’d hit pay dirt in the 4th inning when Lane faced Garland again.

We didn’t need to wait long as on the 2nd pitch we saw Lane drive a shot to left-center field. The ball hit the wall in Minute Maid Park and was called a home run. We (Lane, PJ & myself) had done it!

What was most memorable though is the umps got the call wrong. The ball didn’t hit to the right of the yellow (meaning it was a home run) but actually hit to the left of the line (meaning it was not a home run). But this was before instant reply so it counted for the Astros and it counted for our bank accounts!

Terry is from Massachusetts and is a passionate fan of the Patriots, Celtics, Red Sox and Bruins. He also will admit he only pays attention to Syracuse basketball when they're good. If there's a Twitter trade rumor even remotely associated with one of his teams, he's likely fallen for it. Finally, he believes 100% that if the Celtics had beaten the Heat in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals they would have swept the Thunder in the Finals.

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