What Is an Unassisted Triple Play?

Baseball is one of the most beloved sports in America and around the world. It is also one of the most complex games, with a wide range of rules and regulations that must be followed. One of the most interesting aspects of the game is the rare plays that can occur and the incredible stories that accompany them. While some of these rare plays happen by chance, others are strategically planned by the players and coaches. In this article, we will explore the rarest play in baseball – the unassisted triple play.

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An unassisted triple play is a rare play in which a single fielder, typically an infielder, records all three outs in one play. This means that the fielder catches a batted ball, tags out a base runner, and throws out another runner all in one motion. It is the rarest of all plays in baseball and is considered to be the most difficult to achieve.

The History of the Unassisted Triple Play

The first unassisted triple play in Major League Baseball (MLB) history was recorded in 1909 by Bill Wambsganss of the Cleveland Indians. On October 10, 1920, Wambsganss was playing second base against the Brooklyn Superbas at League Park in Cleveland. He snagged a line drive off the bat of Clarence Mitchell and stepped on second base to double off Pete Kilduff. He then quickly threw to first base to catch Otto Miller, who had been running on the pitch. This play is the only unassisted triple play in World Series history.

Since Wambsganss’ feat, there have only been fifteen other unassisted triple plays in MLB history. The most recent was recorded by Chicago White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier in 2017.

The Unassisted Triple Play in Other Leagues

Unassisted triple plays are incredibly rare, but they have been recorded in other professional baseball leagues as well. The first unassisted triple play in the Pacific Coast League occurred in 1923, when Oakland Oaks’ shortstop Bunny Downs recorded the historic play.

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The unassisted triple play has also been recorded in the minor leagues. In 1983, John Caneira of the Rochester Red Wings became the first player in International League history to achieve the feat. The most recent unassisted triple play in the minors was recorded by Leury Garcia of the Frisco RoughRiders in 2010.

Reasons for the Rarity of the Unassisted Triple Play

The unassisted triple play is an incredibly rare play for several reasons. First, the fielder must be in the right place at the right time to make the play. He must be able to catch the ball cleanly, and then move quickly to tag a runner and throw out another. It is also difficult to anticipate when a batted ball will be hit in such a way that it can be fielded by one player.

Secondly, it is difficult for the fielder to know when to make the play. If he waits too long, he may miss his opportunity. If he moves too quickly, he may not have enough time to complete the play. The fielder must also have the ability to make an accurate throw to the appropriate base.


The unassisted triple play is one of the most rare and exciting plays in baseball. It requires a talented fielder who is able to anticipate the ball, move quickly, and make an accurate throw. It is a remarkable play that is only achieved by a handful of players each year.

Baseball is a game filled with amazing stories and unique plays. The unassisted triple play is one of the most impressive feats that a player can achieve and is sure to be remembered for years to come.