Growing up, the Guiness Book of World Records was truly the only place you could see many cool and weird entries. Of course, with the internet and its vast weirdness, you can find just about anything …
Growing up, the Guiness Book of World Records was truly the only place you could see many cool and weird entries. Of course, with the internet and its vast weirdness, you can find just about anything if you look hard enough, but that does not stop incredible people from doing mind blowing feats. This feat included 1983 Hastings graduate Scott Reinardy. Reinardy helped organize and participated in the Endless game, a marathon baseball game that went on for 100 hours and one minute.
Reinardy, a former Raider, also played townball with the Hampton Cardinals before moving to Kansas City and becoming a professor at the University of Kansas.
“The great tradition of baseball I grew up around in Hampton and obviously in Hastings High School was instrumental for me to get to this point. It really helped develop my love for the game and wanting to do something good. That was the whole idea, that we can have fun and play this game. But we can also do a lot of good for a lot of people said Reinardy.
The game started at 8:00 a.m. on Aug. 31 and ended around noon on Sept. 4 raising over $65,000 for local charities in Kansas City. The former record for longest marathon baseball game is 83 hours and 13 minutes and the Endless Game teams crushed that with their 100-hour and 1-minute game.
The rules are simple for a marathon game for the world record. Players are not allowed to leave the complex. They can leave the field and go sleep in a camper or a tent, but they cannot leave the complex. The game followed the rules of the World Baseball Classic with the exception being player substitutions. The substitution rules were changed to allow players to compete in the entire event.
“Players not being able to leave the complex was a real punch in the face,” said Reinardy. “We had been trying for a couple of months to get a meeting with the Guinness rule folks and we did not get that meeting until May. That is when they told us no one is allowed to leave. At that point, I was like, OKAY, how do we make this happen? My partner in this, Jerry Weaver, is retired. He would drive by an RV place, pull in and say ‘hey, we are doing this thing, do you want to lend us an RV for the weekend?’”
That approach worked and they had several RVs available for players to sleep in. Each player was assigned an RV they could go to when not playing. This allowed them to get out of the heat and relax. They had local businesses help set the park up with electricity where they needed it for free and where they could not get electricity, they had generators and volunteers to keep the fuel topped off.
There were 30 players on each team, team Strength and team Courage. Most of the players were from the same senior league that Reinardy is part of. They played four-hour shifts to keep the game moving. When the playing shift was over, they had eight hours off where they could retreat to a camper, enjoy food trucks or other amenities set up at the ballpark, including one shower that had scheduled 15-minute slots and a single washing machine to keep the uniforms fresh.
There were tons of volunteers helping facilitate all aspects of the game on and off the field. Three officiating crews, two witnesses every shift, volunteers taking care of players needs with things like food deliveries, restocking water and ice in the dugouts, etcetera. In all, there were more than 100 volunteers beyond the 60 players.
What started this whole thing? Reinardy wondered what the record for the longest game was, so he looked it up and discovered that the record was held by a group of Canadians. That is when he mentioned the idea to league mates in his senior baseball league and things took off from there.
The group fundraised to have Guiness officials on site to witness the record and then turned their focus to raising money for seven charities in Kansas City: Operation Breakthrough, Childrens Mercy Hospital, Gift of Life, Veterans Community Project, C You in Major Leagues, North K.C. Parks and Rec and North K.C. Animal Shelter. Their goal was to raise $300,000 to help these charities.
“That was the most disappointing part, we wanted to raise a lot of money for these charities, obviously, that was a lofty goal, no doubt about it, but we were racing against the Canadians, and they raised 250,000 dollars, so we thought, ok, we are going to raise the stakes here,” said Reinardy.
So far, they are over $65,000 and still working to raise that number.
So, what were the final stats? How many innings did they play? What was the final score?
“We lost track of that,” laughed Reinardy. “We know the score became a little lopsided, 468 to 307.”
But he did not say which of the teams won, because it was not about the number of innings or the score of the game, it was about playing the game for a predetermined time. Once they hit the 100-hour mark, many of the players wanted to keep going, but the heat was quickly climbing into the 100’s for the heat index and the game was called, plus, the timing clock they had only went to 99 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds.
They had 25 four-hour shifts and Reinardy estimated a 15 inning average per four-hour shift, that is 375 innings. If each team had 15 pitchers of the 30 players, each pitcher would have thrown 25 innings in five days. Reinardy said some pitchers threw their entire shift; others threw a few hours at a time.
“Our record will be broken, there is no doubt someone will break that record. But what we can raise in donations and the people we can help through the donations, that's going to last lifetimes, generational lifetimes, and that is that is so vitally important," added Reinardy.
If you would like to learn more about the endless game, pick up merchandise to support them or donate, visit www.endlessgame.org.