What’s the Rarest Play in Baseball?

Baseball has been around for over a century, with its iconic plays becoming entrenched in American culture. From the home run to the triple play, each of these plays has a unique and special place in the game. But among all of these iconic plays, one stands out as the rarest of them all: the unassisted triple play.

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What is an Unassisted Triple Play?

An unassisted triple play is a rare play in which a single fielder catches a batted ball, steps on a base to put out a runner, and then tags a runner before they can get back to their base. This play is extremely difficult to pull off, and only 15 players in the history of Major League Baseball have ever accomplished it.

History of the Unassisted Triple Play

The first unassisted triple play was completed in 1909 by Jimmy Williams of the St. Louis Cardinals. Since then, there have only been 14 more players who have achieved this feat: Johnny Neun (1927), Charlie Smith (1929), George Burns (1931), Bill Wambsganss (1920 World Series), Johnny Cooney (1933), Red Schoendienst (1950), Jackie Hernandez (1970), Davey Lopes (1976), Omar Moreno (1982), Craig Counsell (1992), David Bell (1999), Adam Everett (2003), Asdrubal Cabrera (2008) and Eric Bruntlett (2009).

Difficulties of Pulling Off An Unassisted Triple Play

An unassisted triple play is one of the rarest and most difficult plays to complete in baseball. It requires a fielder to be in the right spot at the right time, as well as an incredible amount of awareness and agility to pull off. Additionally, the fielder must also have the quick reaction time to catch the ball, step on a bag and tag a runner all in one motion.

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The Odds of Seeing an Unassisted Triple Play

The odds of seeing an unassisted triple play are incredibly slim. According to Baseball Almanac, the chances of a triple play occurring in any given game are approximately 0.02%, and the chances of an unassisted triple play occurring are even lower at 0.0012%. This means that it would take approximately 8,333 games for an unassisted triple play to occur.

Goals of an Unassisted Triple Play

An unassisted triple play typically occurs in situations where a runner is trying to advance to an extra base and a fielder can take advantage of the situation. The goal of the fielder is to get the ball in the air quickly and accurately, while also being aware of the runner’s position. If the fielder can react quickly enough, they can complete the play with one smooth motion.

The Legacy of an Unassisted Triple Play

An unassisted triple play is a play that is rarely seen in baseball, but it holds a special place in the game’s history. It is a play that requires incredible agility, speed and awareness, and it is a testament to the skill of the players who have been able to pull it off. As a result, it is a play that stands out among the other iconic plays in baseball.