It is one of those records that could be broken at some point, but it isn’t likely.
Marc Hall pitched a Detroit Tigers franchise record 13 relief innings on July 5, 1914, in the first game of a doubleheader against the St. Louis Browns at Navin Field.
Tigers starting pitcher George Boehler gave up three runs in the top of the first inning and did not return for the second inning. Hall, a third-year pro in his second season with the Tigers, came on in relief. A right-hander who was five weeks shy of his 27th birthday, allowed one run in the third inning and another in the eighth, and after nine innings the game was tied 4-4. It stayed that way until the top of the 14th when the Browns scored what proved to be the winning run in a 5-4 victory.
Hall had pitched 13 innings and allowed three runs on 13 hits with two walks and four strikeouts. He also was 0-for-5 at the plate, and the loss dropped him to 4-4. Earl Hamilton of St. Louis pitched all 14 innings to get the win.
Only eight pitchers have thrown more than 13 relief innings since 1913, and the record belongs to Cubs pitcher Zip Zabel, who pitched 18 and one-third innings on June 17, 1915, at West Side Grounds in Chicago.
Hall’s record 13 innings of relief become even more amazing for two reasons: 1, He had pitched four and two-third innings of relief the previous day, and 2, he was on the verge of being diagnosed with a disease that would take his life in less than seven months.
Hall, a native of Joplin, Mo., broke into professional baseball in 1907 at the age of 19 in the Class D Oklahoma-Arkansas-Kansas League. He pitched for Springfield in 1909 and Joplin in 1910 of the Class C Western Association and got his first taste of the major leagues when the St. Louis Browns in 1910. He was 1-7 with a 4.27 ERA in eight games with the Browns and returned to the minors.
In 1911-12, Hall went 42-26 in two seasons with Omaha of the Class A Western League, and that got the attention of the Tigers, who signed him for the 1913 season. He made his debut with the Tigers in his native Missouri against his old team, the Browns. Hall pitched two scoreless innings of relief against the Browns in Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis, and he went on to got 10-12 with a 3.27 ERA for the Tigers.
Hall’s season was cut short in August when he broke a bone in his foot while fielding a bunt. The highlight of the season was a four-hit shutout on June 1, 1913, against the White Sox at Comiskey Park in Chicago. It was the only shutout of his career.
Hall entered the 1914 season with high hopes. Eight of his 25 appearances were as a starter, and he was 4-6 with a 2.79 ERA when his season – and ultimately, his career – ended when he was diagnosed with diabetes. The doctors told him he would never play baseball again. The Tigers released him.
Hall reported early to the Tigers’ training camp in Gulfport, Mississippi, in 1915, in an attempt to work out on his own. Even though he did not feel he would be in shape to make a major-league roster, he hoped to show enough to land in the minors, according to The Sporting News.
During that time, Hall’s illness became worse, and he returned home to Joplin, where he died on Feb. 24, 1915, at the age of 27.