Thre Triples in One Game

This article was written by L. Robert Davids

This article was published in the 1974 Baseball Research Journal


Hitting three triples in s game has become a rare batting feat.   Maybe it should be described as a rare base-running feat as well, because speed on the base paths is also very helpful.   In fact, the last two times it has been accomplished it took two very fast runners.   Bert Campaneris hit three triples in a game for the A’s in 1967, and late last season, Al Bumbry did it for the Orioles.   Neither is known for batting power, although Campy surprised everyone with 22 homers in 1970.

There have been three dozen players hitting a trio of triples in a game since 1900, but only ten of them did it in the last 44 years.   Two players did it twice — British-born Dave Brain for the Cardinals and Pirates in 1905, and Jim Bottomley for the Cards in 1923 and 1927.

In the early years of this century it was somewhat easier to perform this feat.   Playing areas were a little larger and the ball was a little deader — at least it did not go flying out of the park as frequently as it did later.   Players at all regular positions were able to accomplish the “three-squared triumph,” even catcher Pat Moran in 1905.  And the latest entry — Al Bumbry – did it as a designated hitter.   No pitcher was ever able to collect a trio of three-baggers in one game except for Jouett Meekin for the Giants on July 4, 1894.   And he had a little assistance that day as long balls hit into the overflow outfield crowd went for three bases.   Three triples were accomplished more frequently in those days – a couple of players even hit four triples in a game prior to 1900.

Five of the players hitting three triples in a game since 1900 did it in extra innings.  For Joe Judge of the Senators it was a 19-inning game in 1921.   At the other end of the spectrum there was the case of Lou Gehrig, who hit three triples in a game that went only 4½ innings.  Actually it did not qualify as a game and Gehrig’s three-baggers went down the drain with the rain that cancelled the game.  A little more detail about that particular situation might be of interest.

On June 29, 1934, the Yankees were playing an exhibition game in Norfolk, Virginia.   Gehrig was hit in the head by a pitch which rendered him unconscious.   He was taken to a local hospital where X-rays disclosed no serious damage.  He made the overnight shipboard trip to Washington for the next game, but it was believed that his streak of 1414 consecutive games would come to an end.  However, he showed up at Griffith Stadium and got into the lineup.   In the first inning, he scored Crosetti and Ruth with a twisting triple to left that got by Heinie Manush.  In the third he hit another three-bagger and scored on Myril Hoag’s single. Both of these drives were off southpaw Walter Stewart.  In the top of the fifth, Gehrig tripled off Alex McColl, the 40-year-old reliever for the Mats.  Heavy winds came up when the Senators were batting in the bottom of the fifth, trailing 4-1.  There was dust that sent the fans scurrying for shelter, and then rain.   After a delay of more than one hour, umpires Bill McGowan and Brick Owens called the game.  About 7000 fans got rain checks, but Gehrig had his triples wiped off the books.  Looking back it was noted that Senator Manager Joe Cronin had disputed a play in the second inning — resulting in a delay that might have had a bearing on the ultimate outcome.

Gehrig, of course, was known for his power at bat; he was not known for speed on the bases.   What about the 36 players who hit three triples in a game?  Were they known for power or speed?  Or was it both – or neither?  We though we would embellish the list of triple hitters with a notation about their reputation for speed or power – two important factors in hitting triples.

Players Hitting Three Triples in a Game Since 1900

Date

 

 

 

Player and Club

Speed

Power

July

13

1900

 

Harry Wolverton, Phil.NL

 

 

Apr.

18

1901

 

Jim Sheckard, Bkn. NL

x

 

July

6

1902

 

Elmer Flick, Clev. AL

x

x

July

28

1903

 

Bill Bradley, Clev. AL

 

 

Sep.

5

1903

 

Pat Dougherty, Bos. AL

x

 

Sep.

22

1903 (2)

 

Mike Donlin, Cin. NL

x

x

Sep.

26

1903 (1)

 

William Lush, Det. AL

x

 

July

13

1904

 

Nap Lajoie, Clev. AL

x

x

Oct.

8

1904 (2)

 

Miller Higgins, Cin.   NL

x

 

May

29

1905

 

Dave Brain, StL. NL

 

 

Aug.

8

1905

 

Dave Brain, Pitt. NL

 

 

Aug.

10

1905

 

Pat Moran, Bos. NL

 

 

Aug.

30

1906 (2)

 

Hal Chase, N.Y. AL

x

 

July

24

1911

 

Owen Wilson, Pitt. NL

 

x

June

30

1912 (2)

 

Joe Jackson, Clev. AL

x

x

Apr.

24

1913

 

Gus Williams, StL. AL

x

 

May

11

1920

 

Ross Youngs, N.Y. NL

x

 

Sep.

27

1921 (1)

 

Ray Powell, Bos. NL

 

 

Sep.

9

1922

 

Bill Jacobson, StL. AL

 

x

Aug.

9

1921

 

Joe Judge, Wash. AL

x

 

Aug.

13

1922

 

Chas. Hollocher, Chi. NL

x

 

May

15

1923

 

Jim Bottomley, StL. NL

 

x

Sep.

12

1925

 

Jack Tavener, Det. AL

 

 

Sep.

22

1926

 

Lester Bell, StL. NL

 

x

June

21

1927

 

Jim Bottomley, StL. NL

 

x

Sep.

22

1927

 

Earle Combs, N.Y. AL

 

 

July

31

1929

 

Lance Richbourg, Boa. NL

x

 

Aug.

5

1929

 

Chas. Gehringer, Get. AL

x

x

May

13

1937

 

Joe Kuhel, Wash. AL

x

x

Aug.

28

1938

 

Joe DiMaggio, N.Y. AL

 

x

July

3

1939

 

Ben Chapman, Clev. AL

x

 

May

2

1953

 

Carlos Bernier, Pitt. NL

x

 

June

13

1956

 

Danny O’Connell, Bos, NL

 

 

Sep.

8

1958

 

Rob. Clemente, Pitt. NL

 

x

Sep.

15

1960

 

Willie Mays, S.F. NL

x

x

June

11

1966

 

Ernie Banks, Chi. NL

 

x

Aug.

29

1967

 

Bert Campaneris, K.C. AL

x

 

Sep.

22

1973

 

Al Bumbry, Balt. AL

x

 

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