Triple play

I’ve seen a few of these live in my time, and I always love them.  This is the 5-4-3 variety (third base to second to first), made by Tampa Bay in their 5-3 victory over the Yankees yesterday.  I played second base in Little League, but the skill of the pros—their ability to field and then fire accurately to a distant glove—always awes me.


  1. Posted September 28, 2011 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    What amazes me more than the fielder’s skill is that of the great pitchers — their ability not merely to throw impossible-to-hit balls, but the secondary control they have over where the batters hit the ball if they do manage to make contact.


    • Posted September 28, 2011 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      The Fukushima video that follows this one is also very interesting.

  2. Another Matt
    Posted September 28, 2011 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Being a Rockies fan, I enjoyed the unassisted one by Troy Tulowitzki a few years back. It was a neat convergence of circumstance.

  3. ChasCPeterson
    Posted September 28, 2011 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    very nice.
    But the baserunner on first got no jump at all–it was his job to break it up.

    • KP
      Posted September 28, 2011 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      Yes, EXACTLY. He was barely past the halfway point and was already slowing down by the time the 2nd baseman pivoted to throw to 1st. I’m a runner and am critical of lollygaggers in other sports (there’s a scene in “Bull Durham” regarding this that I don’t have time to look up on YouTube right now).

      Triple plays are cool. My other favorite thing to watch is in football when a kickoff is returned all the way back for a touchdown. The return man dodges and jukes 11 guys coming at him and outruns them all. Again my running bias.

  4. Don
    Posted September 28, 2011 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    The turn at second on the 5-4-3 is always great to see, because the second baseman must look one way for the throw, then pivot to make the throw to first around the runner who’s doing all he get to interfere, but what’s really amazing to me is how a fine first baseman routinely catches throws in the dirt and wide of the bag to make the out.

    • Posted September 30, 2011 at 5:54 am | Permalink


      as a Limey, I have absolutely no idea what you just said! 😉


  5. Matt Bowman
    Posted September 28, 2011 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Against the Yankees makes it triple-awesome.

  6. mordacious1
    Posted September 28, 2011 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Most triple plays that I have seen begin with a player snagging a fly ball, then two runners get thrown out. In this game, three runners were thrown out and that’s cool.

    • Don
      Posted September 28, 2011 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Not three, but two runners were thrown out. The guy on second was forced out at third when Longoria stepped on the bag.

    • Diane G.
      Posted September 28, 2011 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      I agree, one like this, where the play goes to all three bases, is really a kick to watch!

      How ’bout both wild card races being tied as of now with one game left in the season?! (Sorry, Boston fans.) Go, Tigers!

  7. Hempenstein
    Posted September 28, 2011 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    And also, the announcer was able to cover it more or less matter-of-factly, in contrast to the portentious breathlessness of coverage of every last movement in a football game.

    Also, in that segment, he said the word “ball” only once, and not “baseball”, in contrast to the incessant “football” with that sort of coverage, where presumably those fans continually forget what kind of game they’re watching.

  8. Posted September 28, 2011 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Mistake by #55 Martin: you don’t slide into first! There’s a frame where you can see the ball 4-5 yards out and he’s already on his face. If he had run through the base, he would have got there sooner, I’m guessing enough to make a difference on the close play.

    Silly Yankees. Hang in there, Red Socks!

    • KP
      Posted September 28, 2011 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Yep. See my comment above. If I were the Yankees’ 1st or 3rd base coach, there would be remedial running training for the whole team for the rest of the week based on the two gross running Failz on display in that video.

      • Diane G.
        Posted September 28, 2011 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        Hey, the season’s essentially over, the Yanks clinched long ago, and they want to keep everyone healthy for the post season.

        • Posted September 28, 2011 at 11:53 am | Permalink

          Taking an unnecessary slide is a poor way to stay healthy. Particularly so for a catcher.

          • Diane G.
            Posted September 28, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

            Ooh, good point.

        • ChasCPeterson
          Posted September 28, 2011 at 11:55 am | Permalink

          Pete Rose would have run it out.

          And that’s why ol’ Charlie Hustle’s in the Hall of F


          • Diane G.
            Posted September 28, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

            Ah, yes, I remember those days…

  9. Posted September 28, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    On the other hand, that was a gutsy play by Longoria at third … with the runner going home in an easy pickle for a double play, he went around the horn.

    … on the gripping hand, against a GOOD Yankee team that would have been a mistake. But there you are!

  10. FreedToChoose
    Posted September 28, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Not all triple plays are fielding classics. Consider this Keystone Kops Klassic:

    If the link doesn’t work, search for “minor league triple play off head”

    Enjoy. As a former right fielder who was a lot slower than he looked. This one is something I could have done.

    • Diane G.
      Posted September 28, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

      Hilarious! Lucky thing they happened to have a camera on it.

  11. Dietrich
    Posted September 28, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    I’ve seen two triple plays live — the amazing thing is that they were both in the same game (July 17, 1990 at Fenway Park). That’s the only time it’s ever happened; both were 5-4-3 plays by the Twins.

    I couldn’t remember the date for sure, but was able to find the box score at, an excellent resource for historical baseball data.

  12. Nick Evans
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 4:06 am | Permalink

    Ignorant foreigner’s question here: the batting team had a runner on 3rd base when the play started. He seemed to make it home comfortably. Does he score a run, or does the fact that 3 of his team-mates were run out mean that his run doesn’t count?

    Apologies if this is answered in the commentary, I have the sound off here.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 4:14 am | Permalink

      No; if that play retires all three runners (three “outs” make an inning), then the run at home doesn’t count. On the other hand, had it been a DOUBLE play, with only two runners thrown out, and the guy crossed home safely, the run would count.

      • Nick Evans
        Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        Thanks, Jerry. And that applies even if the runner gets home before the 3rd out? Any particular reason, or is that just the way it is?

        • Aaron
          Posted September 29, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

          The official rulebook says, “A run is not scored if the runner advances to home base during a play in which the third out is made (1) by the batter-runner before he touches first base; (2) by any runner being forced out; or (3) by a preceding runner who is declared out because he failed to touch one of the bases.”

          This rule was most famously invoked in 1908 when a runner failed to touch second after a run scored (look up “Merkle’s boner” for more). As for why it is, all I can say is that the game would be *very* different if the runner could score on a forced third out, especially if a runner could score from third on a groundout with 2 outs.

          • Nick Evans
            Posted September 29, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

            Thanks, but “look up “Merkle’s boner” for more”? I may be the ignorant foreigner here, but I’m not falling for that!

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