Friday, March 30, 2007

The Quadruple Play

To follow up on my last post below.

On July 1, 1903 the The New York Giants performed a feat that has never been repeated. They completed Baseball's only quadruple play. Here is what happened.

St. Louis had the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the 6th inning. Homer Smoot is up to bat and hits a shallow fly ball to centerfield for out No. 1. Giant outfielder, Roger Bresnahan, fires the ball to home plate to catch Clarence Currie trying to score on a sacrifice fly for out No. 2. Catcher John Warner then throws the ball towards secondbase to shortstop George Davis who tags out Patsy Donovan who is coming from firstbase. This is out No. 3. Davis, who must not have realized that 3 outs were already recorded, then throws back to the catcher who subsequently tags out John Farrell at home as he tries to score from secondbase.

Of course, only the first three outs were recorded.

SABR Triple Play Descriptions:

Yesterday's Game: The Triple Play

As I'm sure you all know, the Dodgers lost to the Angels 6 to 1 yesterday. Furthermore, I'm sure you all know that the Angels pulled off their third triple play this Spring against the Dodgers. The unfortunate batter to start this rare feat was newly acquired Brady Clark. This event got me thinking, "how frequent is the triple play?" Well, the internet never seems to disappoint my curious mind.

SABR has an excellent analysis focused on the triple play. Check out the link here. It's amazing the amount of information they provide. They have a complete listing of every triple play since 1876, a complete description of every triple play, triple plays by month and stadium, and much much more. I don't know how they find the time to figure this all out.

The best part of the site is triple play trivia.
  • Quadruple Play- Only the first three outs were counted - 7/1/1903 6th Inning - New York Giants vs. St. Louis Cardinals.
  • The Detroit Tigers turned triple plays against the Boston Red Sox on two consecutive days (6/6/1908 and 6/7/1908). Detroit's Germany Schafer started both of them (once as a 3B and then playing 2B). Gavvy Cravath (Bos) batted-into the first one and was on base for the second one. Germany Schafer is also famous for stealing 3 bases on consecutive pitches without ever getting past 2nd base.
  • On 9/26/1927 Washington Senators' batter Joe Judge hit into a triple play and was not charged with a time at-bat (Sacrifice Fly).
Amazing stuff. Anyway, triple play frequency can be seen through this handy graph: Link:

SABR Triple Plays Link: