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The story of a high-scoring tie between the Yankees and White Sox

Ties don’t always equate to boring.

Los Angeles Angels v New York Yankees Photo by Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images

Games finishing in ties is obviously not something that happens regularly in baseball anymore. The Pirates and Cubs played one this season, but that only happened because the game wouldn’t matter in the standings for either team, and they didn’t have to play it out to a conclusion.

It used to happen fairly regularly, however. There were probably few ties as wild as the one the Yankees and White Sox played on September 12, 1931.

After Ivy Andrews pitched a scoreless top of the first, the Yankees scored first in the bottom of the inning. Samuel Byrd walked and moved to second on a wild pitch before Joe Sewell brought him home with a single.

Andrews would immediately surrender that lead in the top of the second. He allowed three runs in the inning, with the big blow coming on a two-run Frank Grube home run. In the third, the White Sox scored three more runs, chasing Andrews from the game.

The Yankees got two of those runs back in the fourth, and then took the lead in the fifth. After a lead-off double from Sewell, the next two hitters went down in order. The inning then went E8, double, home run, E6, and triple. The Yankees scored five runs in the inning and took an 8-6 lead.

That lead wouldn’t last long though. The top of the sixth would end up looking similar to the bottom of the fifth. After Gordon Rhodes, who had come in for Andrews, allowed a lead-off single, Tony Lazzeri then made errors on consecutive play, allowing the White Sox to load the bases. Eventually Chicago would plate four runs in the inning, including both that reached on Lazzeri’s errors, going up 10-8.

The Yankees were still down 10-8 heading into the bottom of the eighth. They loaded the bases with two outs, bringing Lazzeri to the plate. The second baseman made up for the two runners he allowed earlier by singling home two runs of his own. His single tied the game at ten.

Ed Wells, who had thrown a scoreless eighth inning, came back out for the ninth. He got a quick out to start the inning, but then things got away from him. He then allowed a single and a double to the next two hitters.

Wells was removed from the game for Hank Johnson, but that didn’t improve things. Johnson walked the first hitter he faced, loading the bases. Johnson then allowed a two-run single, and a steal of home. He eventually got out of it, but the Yankees were once again down multiple runs.

Down to their last three outs, the Yankees started the ninth with a triple by Bill Dickey. Byrd, Earl Combs, and Ben Chapman would all pick up RBI hits in the inning. The Yankees again came back to tie the game, and sent it to extra innings with the score 13-13.

Lefty Gomez was brought in to pitch the tenth, and he got three quick outs. In the bottom of the tenth, the White Sox got two quick outs before Dickey singled, keeping the inning alive. Byrd then doubled, putting two runners in scoring position. White Sox reliever Tommy Thomas would get Sewell out to end the inning, leaving the winning run 90 feet away.

However after that, no more baseball would be played on September 12, 1931. The game was the second of a doubleheader. The first game actually went longer, finishing after 13 innings. The two teams played 23 innings of baseball that day, scoring 39 runs total.

Only one other tied game has been higher scoring. The Tigers and Red Sox played a 14-14 tie in 1949.

The Yankees came back from three deficits of multiple runs against the White Sox on September 12, 1931. Yet the game wouldn’t count in the standings because they couldn’t finish it before the darkness came.


All data courtesy of the Baseball Reference Play Index