Les Meuller spent parts of just two seasons in the majors, but among his 30 appearances with the Tigers was one very notable feat. On July 21, 1945, he pitched 19 2/3 innings, allowing just one unearned run, in what ended up being a 24-inning tie against the A’s in Philadelphia.
Meuller’s outing that day is the longest in the majors since 1930. The longest since was a Vern Law 18-inning start for the Pirates on July 19, 1955.
Meuller allowed 13 hits, walked five and struck out six in the game. He was finally relieved by Dizzy Trout in the 20th inning, and Trout finished it out before the game was called. It actually could have kept going; Shibe Park had lights at the time. However, there was a league rule against turning on the lights during day games.
Perhaps one reason the game lasted as long as it did was because the Tigers had their best hitter, Hank Greenberg, on the bench. Greenberg appeared as a pinch-hitter and walked.
Connie Mack’s A’s got five hits from Bobby Estalella, grandfather of the future major league catcher. Future Hall of Famer George Kell, still a youngster at age 22, went 0-for-10 from the seventh spot in the order.
After that game, Mueller didn’t pitch again for two weeks. He allowed three runs — two earned — in 8 2/3 innings in a loss to the White Sox on Aug. 5. He was primarily a starter the rest of the way, and he beat the Athletics for his final big-league victory on Sept. 14.
After the 1945 season, Mueller spent a few years toiling in the minors and then gave up on baseball. The AP reports that he operated a furniture store in Belleville, Illinois until retiring. He’s survived by his wife and three sons.