Unassisted Triple Plays

May 12, 2008
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Here is the video of an unassisted triple play recorded by Asdrubal Cabrera on May 13th 2008, and the complete list in major league history. The Cleveland Indians second baseman turned only the 14th unassisted triple play on record.

When I was a child I remember reading a baseball history book which described the first unassisted triple play in major league baseball. It left me awestruck and fantasizing every time I took the baseball field as a youth. I am awestruck again tonight. What are the odds?

It is the most rare of all baseball plays, even more rare than a perfect game. At the rate of 1 every 10 years, unassisted triple plays occurs approximately one in every 500,000 games, or once every 25 million outs. Read all about it here.

Thanks to an unknown ballplayer named Asdrubal Cabrera for making my day. In the 5th inning of the second game of a double-header against Toronto, he made a diving catch of a line drive off the bat of Lyle Overbay, doubled up the runner off of 2nd base and tagged Marco Scutaro for the third out. Instead of keeping the historic ball, the 2nd baseman mistakenly flipped it into the stands.

Nevertheless Toronto beat Cleveland 3-0. A list of all of the major league unassisted triple plays is below as well as the video of Asdrubal Cabrera’s amazing feat.

The most famous occurred in the 1920 World Series. All were line drives and all but two were by middle infielders. The two first baseman who pulled off the play were apparently ball hogs.

List of Unassisted Triple Play in Major League Baseball History:

Player Team Position Date Inning The Play

Neal Ball SS July 19, 1909 2nd Caught line drive, Touched 2nd, Tagged runner.

Bill Wambsganss 2B October 10, 1920 5th Caught line drive, Touched 2nd, Tagged runner. Game 5 of the 1920 World Series.

George Burns 1B September 14, 1923 2nd Caught line drive, Tagged runner off 1st, Touched 2nd before runner returned.

Ernie Padgett SS October 6, 1923 4th Caught line drive, Touched 2nd, Tagged runner.

Glenn Wright SS May 7, 1925 9th Caught line drive, Touched 2nd, Tagged runner.

Jimmy Cooney SS May 30, 1927 4th Caught line drive, Touched 2nd, Tagged runner.

Johnny Neun 1B May 31, 1927 9th Caught line drive, Tagged runner, Touched 2nd.

Ron Hansen SS July 30, 1968 1st Caught line drive, Touched 2nd, Tagged runner.

Mickey Morandini Philadelphia Phillies 2B September 20, 1992 6th Caught line drive, Touched 2nd, Tagged runner.

John Valentin SS July 8, 1994 6th Caught line drive, Touched 2nd, Tagged runner.

Randy Velarde New York Yankees 2B May 29, 2000 6th Caught line drive, Tagged runner, Touched 2nd.

Rafael Furcal Atlanta Braves SS August 10, 2003 5th Caught line drive, Touched 2nd, Tagged runner.

Troy Tulowitzki Colorado Rockies SS April 29, 2007 7th Caught line drive, Touched 2nd, Tagged runner.

Asdrúbal Cabrera Cleveland Indians 2B May 12, 2008 5th Caught line drive, Touched 2nd, Tagged runner.




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