Happy 40th Anniversary: Nolan Ryan vs. Luis Tiant

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer

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You know when people say things like, "if that happened nowadays ... " ? Well, get that machine up and running, because exactly 40 years ago Saturday -- on June 14, 1974 -- there was a pitchers' duel for the ages.

Check out the box score on baseball-reference.com

The Angels would outlast the Red Sox in 15 innings by the count of 4-3. A two-run Carl Yastrzemski homer in the ninth tied things up and sent it to extras before a Denny Doyle double in the 15th won it for the home Angels.

One line that stands out among hitters is Cecil Cooper going 0-for-8 with six strikeouts for Boston. That's a rough one.

The work on the mound, however, gets the headline and deservedly so. Angels starter and now Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan went 13 innings, striking out 19. Luis Tiant of the Red Sox, however, topped him by never leaving the game. He went 14 1/3 innings.

The pitch counts aren't 100 percent known, as things weren't tracked quite so closely in those days as they are these, but reports indicated Ryan threw 235 pitches. Tiant's pitch count isn't available, but, again, he threw 14 1/3 freaking innings. Even if he was unbelievably efficient, he had to have thrown at least 165.

So, it's time to imagine what would happen if a pitcher these days went over 230 pitches while his counterpart worked into the 15th inning. There are no wrong answers. Imagine the possibilities.

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