This article was written by Chuck Rosciam
Here are some trivia nuggets about triple plays from SABR’s Triple Plays Database:
- 5/8/1878: Providence Grays center fielder Paul Hines turned the first unassisted triple play in major-league history — although that fact remains in dispute among historians. Click here to read the SABR Games Project story about it by Kathy Torres.
- 8/15/1894: First triple play wherein an outfielder recorded the third out, 9th Inning – Boston Beaneaters vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
- 9/5/1901: Larry Hesterfer of the New York Giants hit into a triple play in his only major-league game. He is the first player to hold that distinction (batter, runner or fielder) of being involved in a TP in his brief cup of coffee.
- 7/15/1902: Harry O’Hagan of the New York Giants recorded the third out of a 1*-4*-3* triple play turned against Cincinnati. O’Hagan subsequently was sent to the minors (Rochester, Eastern League) and he turned an unassisted triple play as a first baseman a month later (8/18/1902) against Jersey City. (Credit: Frank Hamilton, Paul Wendt)
- 7/1/1903: Quadruple Play – but only the first three outs were counted. Sixth inning, New York Giants vs. St. Louis Cardinals
- 6/6/1908: The Detroit Tigers turned triple plays against the Boston Red Sox on two consecutive days (June 6-7). Detroit’s Germany Schafer started both of them (once as a third baseman and then as a second baseman). Boston’s Gavvy Cravath batted into the first one and was on base for the second one.
- 10/9/1911: Phillies catcher John Quinn was the second out and a runner on second base for the triple play in the only major-league game in his career. He is the second player to hold that distinction (batter, runner or fielder) of being involved in a TP in his brief cup-of-coffee.
- 5/16/1913: The ball changed hands 10 times in a 6-2-5-1-5*-4*-5-6-5-7* triple play, 7th Inning – Philadelphia Athletics at Cleveland Indians. The fielders involved were Jack Barry, Ira Thomas, Frank Baker, Byron Houck, Baker (2x), Eddie Collins, Baker (3x), Barry (2x), Baker (4x), and Rube Oldring.
- 5/22/1920: Art Fletcher was put out in a triple play twice in one season (5/22/1920 and 7/7/1920) for two different teams — the only player to have that distinction. (Credit: Frank Hamilton)
- 9/26/1927: Washington Senators batter Joe Judge hit into a triple play and was not charged with a time at bat. It was a sacrifice fly. (Credit: John Schwartz)
- 9/19/1929: St. Louis Browns second baseman Ski Melillo made all three continuous putouts and did not receive credit for an unassisted triple play on 9/19/1929 at Washington Senators. The play began as a groundball to the pitcher, George Blaeholder, and was scored 1-4*-4*-4*. (Credit: John Schwartz)
- 7/27/1930: Cincinnati relief pitcher Ken Ash entered the game in the sixth inning with runners on first and third, nobody out. Charlie Grimm of the Cubs swung at Ash’s first pitch and hit into a into a 4-5-2*-3*-5* triple play, making it a one-pitch inning for Ash. (Credit: Rob Neyer)
- 9/30/1962: Mets catcher Joe Pignatano’s final major-league at-bat was a triple play at Wrigley Field versus the Cubs. (Credit: David Mostardi)
- 7/9/1971: Atlanta Braves rookie Leo Foster hit into a double play (fifth inning) and a triple play (seventh inning) in his major-league debut at Pittsburgh. (Credit: David Jenkins)
- 7/23/1977: The Minnesota Twins batter, Lyman Bostock, and the California Angels first baseman, Tony Solaita, who put him out in a 6*-4*-3* triple play, were both later shot to death. (Credit: Stew Thornley)
- 7/17/1990: The Minnesota Twins became the first team to turn TWO triple plays in the same game against the Boston Red Sox in the fourth and eighth innings.
- 8/6/2001: Boston’s Scott Hatteberg lined into a triple play in the fourth inning, but made amends with a grand slam in the sixth inning.
- 4/14/2002: In his only major-league game, Seattle’s Ron Wright had three at-bats which included a strikeout (second inning), a 1-6*-2-5-1*-4* triple play (fourth inning), and a double play (sixth inning) for possibly the worst-ever major-league career. (Credit: Jeff Wayman)
- 9/2/2006: Tampa Bay’s 2*-6*-2* triple play against Seattle is the first triple play where the catcher (Dioner Navarro) made the first and third outs.
- 8/27/2007: Cleveland reliever Rafael Perez entered the game with runners on first and second and nobody out. Minnesota’s Mike Redmond hit into a triple play on an 0-2 pitch, making it a three-pitch inning for Perez as Cleveland turned a 5*-4*-3* TP. (Credit: Neil Cohen)
- 5/30/2008: San Francisco reliever Keiichu Yabu entered the tie game (3-3) with runners on first and second and nobody out. San Diego’s Kevin Kouzmanoff swung at the first pitch, right into a 5*-4*-3* triple play, making it a one-pitch inning for Yabu. (Credit: Dan Comfort)
- 5/9/2015: Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker started and ended the first 4*-5*-4* triple play in major-league history against the St. Louis Cardinals in the second inning
- 7/25/2017: The Cincinnati Reds became the eighth major-league team in the Live Ball Era (since 1920) to allow a run to score while turning a triple play, against the New York Yankees. The other known instances of run-scoring triple plays are: 5/27/2006 (Twins triple play vs. Mariners), 6/3/1977 (Orioles vs. Royals), 6/13/1973 (Expos vs. Padres), 9/10/1964 (Senators vs. Orioles), 6/23/1954 (Red Sox vs. Orioles), 5/20/1944 (White Sox vs. Red Sox), and 4/30/1937 (Pirates vs. Cubs). Earlier run-scoring triple plays include: 6/2/1919 (Indians vs. Browns), 5/25/1919 (White Sox vs. Senators), and possibly several others that we are still trying to confirm. (Credit: Jacob Pomrenke and Doug Kern)
To go back to the main page for the SABR Triple Plays Database, click here.