Triple plays are rare. Yesterday’s was the 31st turned by the Phillies in their history. The first took place on September 8, 1890. For some reason, we can’t find video of that play.
Even more rare, an unassisted game-ending triple play. Yep, unexpected unassisted. Eric’s was only the second in all of baseball history. The other was by Detroit first baseman John Neun, May 31, 1927, to end the game against Cleveland.
Rare again….Phillies have had two unassisted triple plays, both by second basemen, Mickey Morandini, September 20, 1992, at Pittsburgh, being the first. His came in the sixth inning.
Rare one more time, Eric’s and Mickey’s were exactly the same type play: line drive caught, touch second base for the second out and tag the runner for the third out.
“Mine was a little different, just a little. I dove for the line drive from (Jeff) King, stepped on second base and was about to throw to first when I noticed Barry Bonds was standing next to me. So, I tagged him,” said Mickey this morning from his Indiana home. Unofficially, Eric’s play took four seconds. “I saw it on replays last night and I believe mine was as quick.”
The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown contacted the Phillies last evening seeking a momento from Eric. Mickey recalled that second base and his jersey went to Cooperstown. “I didn’t want to part with my glove because it was my gamer.” The ball? “I have a ball but I’m not sure if it is THE ball. I remember tossing the ball back to (Curt) Schilling.”
One other difference between Mickey and Eric. Eric is in today’s lineup at shortstop. Laughing Mickey said, “No, I didn’t play shortstop the next game.”
Two other Phillies triple play notes:
**Team turned three triple plays in 1964, which tied a major league record for most in a season. It has been matched three times since.
**Randy Ready in 1991 (April 28) against the Padres at the Vet could have turned an unassisted triple play against Tony Gwynn. Instead, he threw to first base (Ricky Jordan) to complete the play. Ready’s position? Second base.
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