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 Post subject: Unassisted Triple Play
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 1:11 pm 
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Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies was in the right place and the right time on Sunday to record a triple play. The Rocky Mountain News ran a nice breakout on all the triple plays in MLB history, and all but two have been done by middle infielders. What surprised me is that two first basemen, George Burns and Johnny Neun, both accomplished the feat in the 1920s.
Has anyone seen a corner infielder turn an unassisted triple play even in Little League or the minors? I can picture how it would happen, with the runners moving, a line drive being caught and the first baseman recording the third out at second, but it's still quite odd.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 2:20 pm 
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I think I read about this about 45 years ago, so pardon me if my account is inaccurate or foggy.

I think the Burns triple play was something like this:

1. Runners on first and third.

2. Guy hits a screaming liner to Burns, who catches it and steps on the bag, Two down.

3, Burns continues running toward home, where he tags out the runner from third, who didn't realize the ball had been caught or couldn't stop and reverse in time.

It's possible a weird play like this could be made possible by the conditions of the game back then. They played with dirty balls and games often ended at dusk, with no field lighting. The runner on third could have been confused and thought the ball was a base hit and kept going toward the plate, and Burns (or Neun) just figured he'd go make the tag play.

I hate the modern game, but baseball history is fascinating. I stopped following the game in the early '70s.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 5:27 pm 
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Location: Saranac Lake, N.Y.
According to this site, Burns caught the liner, tagged runner who had been on first and then stepped on second.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 5:58 pm 
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Bumfketeer wrote:
3, Burns continues running toward home, where he tags out the runner from third, who didn't realize the ball had been caught or couldn't stop and reverse in time.


Or he did steps 1 & 2 and saw the runner stuck on the basepath midway between home and third (maybe not realizing he hadn't tagged up), then ran toward him rather than commit by throwing to the catcher or 3B. Eventually he might have tagged the runner out without throwing at all.

I read about a catcher who completed an unassisted DP the same basic way -- he tagged the batter after a dropped 3rd strike, then saw a baserunner caught between first and second and ran him down.

Just a thought.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 6:02 pm 
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Also, it seems as if third-basemen would have more opportunities for an unassisted TP: Second and third, screaming line drive caught, tag 3rd, tag runner coming from second. Strange that it hasn't happened. (ISTR reading about one like that in the minors but I don't remember any details.)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 6:42 pm 
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ISTR? Wasn't Warren Beatty in that?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 7:36 pm 
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Bumfketeer wrote:
ISTR? Wasn't Warren Beatty in that?


Yes, but it was in 1987, so you don't have to worry about it, Bumf.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 7:38 pm 
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Whew.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 8:26 pm 
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Location: Syracuse
Even rarer is the quadruple play, which has never happened in the majors, yet.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2007 2:33 am 
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Location: Washington
Here's how a quadruple play could happen:

The bases are loaded with no outs; there's a 3-2 count on the batter. The manager thinks a hittable fastball is coming, so, down a few runs, he decides to send each of his runners with the pitch. The batter swings and misses, but the catcher drops the ball. The batter takes off for first.

Meanwhile, the catcher picks up the ball in time to tag the runner coming home from third — then throws to the third baseman, who tags the runner going from second to third. The third baseman then throws to the second baseman, who nails the runner coming from first.

Maybe I'm wrong, but if the pitcher gets the credit for a strikeout on a swing-and-miss play in which the catcher drops the ball and the batter makes it to first, then there should be credit for a fourth out in the triple play from this kind of scenario.

I don't know if the rules actually stretch that far, but it seems at least theoretically possible.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2007 6:34 am 
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Don't think it would qualify as a quadruple play, but it is possible to have four outs in an inning.
Runners on second and third with one out, batter hits a long fly to the outfield.
Both runners take off when the ball is caught. Runner who had been on second rounds third, gets caught in a rundown and is tagged out for the third out, after the other runner crosses the plate. The run counts – for the moment.
Fielding team stays in position, pitcher gets ball from umpire, steps on rubber, then steps off and throws to third base.
Third baseman steps on the bag and appeals the original runner on third left too early on the flyball.
Ump's thumb goes up, fourth out of inning is recorded, run doesn't count.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2007 10:52 am 
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I like your scenario better. Vanderhoof gets the Ferguson Jenkins Prize for Canadian Baseball Excellence.

Which makes me think: You could probably make a pretty good all-time team out of players from Canada (and mostly British Columbia):

SP: Erik Bedard
SP: Rich Harden
SP: Jeff Francis
SP: Adam Loewen
SP: Kirk McCaskill

RP: Rheal Cormier, Jesse Crain, Jeff Zimmerman, Paul Quantrill, Ryan Dempster, John Hiller

Closer: Eric Gagne

C: Russell Martin
1B: Justin Morneau
2B: Dave McKay
SS: Frank O'Rourke
3B: Corey Koskie

OF: Jason Bay
OF: Larry Walker
OF: Terry Puhl

Bench: Matt Stairs, Aaron Guiel, Pete LaForest, Pete Orr, Scott Thorman


In its prime, that team could win some wild cards, I would think.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2007 12:10 pm 
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Location: Syracuse
Yes, the appeal to third because the runner left too soon is the key to the quadruple play.


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