In Major League Baseball history, there have been two occurrences of unassisted triple plays by first basemen, five by second basemen, and eight by shortstops. Did you know that two of the unassisted triple plays came as the game's last plays? In both cases, the runners were at third and home.
The first unassisted triple play in MLB history took place on September 21, 1869, between the Chicago White Stockings and the Cincinnati Red Stockings. The batter hit a ground-ball to first base; the runner on first stole second; and the second baseman threw out the man at second trying to advance to third. The play ended the 5th inning. The White Stockings won the game 7-6 in 11 innings. This was the first ever World Series game played outside of New York City, and it is also known as the Chicago Gloom Game because of its freezing temperature (10 degrees F) and wind-chill factor. The White Stockings went on to win the series 3-1.
The second unassisted triple play in MLB history happened on October 4, 1889, between the Boston Beaneaters and the Philadelphia Phillies. The play ended the 8th inning.
Triple plays are unusual—there have been 727 triple plays in Major League Baseball (MLB) since 1876, an average of around five per season—because they rely on the conjunction of two uncommon elements: To begin, there must be at least two runners on base and no outs. Then, the third basemen must tag out the man at second while the first baseman turns to tag the runner trying to advance toward home plate. Only eight other sports (basketball, football, hockey, baseball, tennis, golf, auto racing) allow for multiple players to be involved in each phase of the game.
It's also important to note that although triple plays can happen at any time during a ball game, they usually occur in the ninth inning or later when there is little chance of victory or loss because both teams have already made all their runs. Between 1876 and 2011 there have been 73 triple-double games in MLB history. Pitchers have thrown triple doubles more often than anyone else (30 times), followed by first basemen (9), outfielders (8), second basemen (7), third basemen (6), managers (5), and catchers (4).
What is so rare about a triple play? Well, for one thing, it requires cooperation from everyone involved in the play. If any player fails to perform his part of the agreement, then the triple play cannot happen.
Triple threat A single fielder completing all three outs is the rarest sort of triple play and one of the rarest happenings in baseball. Only 15 unassisted triple plays have occurred in MLB history, making this achievement rarer than a perfect game. A triple play can be completed in two ways: via the runner-to-third base route or via the runner-to-home plate route.
A triple play can be initiated by any member of the offensive team; however, the manager is responsible for ordering his players to move toward the appropriate base before the at-bat is finished. If a manager fails to do so, this is known as leaving your feet at third base or at home plate. The most common way for a triple play to occur is when a pitcher gets the bat out of his hands by means of an automatic double-play ball. This has happened 129 times in MLB history. Second on the list is when a catcher positions himself between the pitcher and batter and signals for the infielders to get him out. This has happened 75 times in MLB history. Finally, there are 13 instances where a single fielder has been able to handle all three outs after a walk or hit by pitch. This has never happened before an audience.
The triple play is an exciting event in baseball that fans love and hate simultaneously. Hating because they think it's unfair and cheating, but loving because it's such an amazing feat.
A total of fifteen players in MLB have fielded an unassisted triple play, making this achievement even more unusual than a perfect game. The first such play occurred on September 21, 1893, when Ed Delahanty of the Cleveland Infants/Braves caught all three runners on one swing of the bat.
Three triple plays have been converted by one team in a season. Here's the rundown: The White Sox in 2016, the Red Sox in 1979, the A's in 1979, the Cubs in 1965, the Phillies in 1964, the Red Sox in 1924, and the Tigers in 1911.
A single fielder completing all three outs is the rarest sort of triple play and one of the rarest happenings in baseball. Only 15 unassisted triple plays have occurred in MLB history, making this achievement rarer than a perfect game.