Let’s play … 20! MLB has fullest schedule since 1974

Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco catches a fly ball hit by Cincinnati Reds’ Nick Castellanos off Pirates’ starting pitcher Steven Brault during the first inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Friday, Sept. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Major League Baseball had its fullest schedule in nearly a half-century Friday with 20 games set to be played, including five doubleheaders caused by postponements for weather, the coronavirus and protests of racial injustice.

The last time 20 games were on the schedule was Aug. 4, 1974, when there were nine doubleheaders, the Elias Sports Bureau said.

Detroit and Minnesota got this busy day in empty ballparks started with a twinbill at Target Field. Other seven-inning doubleheaders were scheduled in Baltimore, Boston, Pittsburgh and Atlanta.

The stats from Friday and that Sunday afternoon 46 years ago are certain to be different. There were 12 complete games thrown that day, including nine-inning efforts by Catfish Hunter, Luis Tiant and Dave McNally. The pitching star might’ve been someone who got a no-decision — Dan Freisleben threw 13 shutout innings for San Diego against Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez and the Cincinnati Reds.

Only three of those 20 games back then took over 2 hours, 40 minutes. On Friday, the Blue Jays needed 2:42 for Toronto’s 8-7 win in seven innings at Fenway Park.

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