This week in Duke history: Longest professional baseball doubleheader ever played on East Campus

They say baseball takes too long these days. Good thing you weren’t around on July 5, 1915!

That day, the second half of a minor-league doubleheader brought the total of innings played that day between the Durham Bulls and Raleigh Capitals to 34.5. The two teams played the first game in Raleigh before moving to Duke’s Hanes Field on East Campus for the second game. 

The doozy of a day set the all-time record for length of a doubleheader in American professional baseball, according to Philip J. Lowry's "Baseball's Longest Games."

But that leaves a few questions to answer.

First: What was minor league baseball doing on East Campus?

That’s where the Bulls played before they found a home at the Durham Athletic Park downtown, where they played until 1994. They competed at Hanes Field from 1913 to 1917 and 1920 to 1926.

Second: Why did the games take so long? 

The games could have taken even longer. They lasted from 10 a.m. to the early evening according to the News & Observer.

But apparently, to end an argument about a dropped fly ball that created a “rhubarb” between the teams—including the immortal Connie Mack's son, Capitals manager Earle Mack—the umpire decided to call it quits with the game tied at two. The first part of the double-header lasted 14 innings, and the second 20 1/2.

Is Hanes Field named after the founder of Hanes underwear?

That may be a leading question, but it is true! His name was John Wesley Hanes, and he was a former Duke student from after the Civil War.

Did anything else happen at Hanes Field that was cool?

It’s where the Duke football team used to play, and also where the athletic-related sorority Delta Phi Rho put initiates through some traumatizing tasks... at least for the young male students on campus who could hear their cries from their dorm rooms.

It might have been easier for them to sleep, though, after watching a full day of baseball between the Bulls and Capitals.

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