How Many Triple Plays Have Been Turned In MLB History

How Many Triple Plays Have Been Turned In MLB History?

Triple plays are one of the rarest and most exhilarating feats in baseball. They occur when the defending team records three outs on a single play, typically involving precise timing, coordination, and a bit of luck.

In the rich tapestry of Major League Baseball (MLB) history, triple plays hold a special place, revered for their rarity and impact on the outcome of games.

Historical Overview

Throughout the storied history of MLB, triple plays have been a source of fascination and awe for fans and players alike.

The earliest documented instances of triple plays date back to the late 1800s, showcasing the enduring appeal of this remarkable play.

Over the years, triple plays have evolved from simple double plays to more complex and strategic maneuvers.

Notable Triple Plays

Several triple plays stand out in MLB history for their sheer brilliance and game-changing impact. From unassisted triple plays to triple plays in the World Series, these moments have left an indelible mark on the sport.

One such example is the famous triple play turned by the Detroit Tigers in Game 5 of the 1909 World Series, which helped secure their victory.

Records and Statistics

While triple plays are relatively rare, there have been numerous instances recorded in MLB history. According to official records, there have been over 700 triple plays turned in MLB games since the 1800s.

The New York Yankees hold the record for the most triple plays turned by a single team, with over 30 triple plays in their illustrious history.

Impact on the Game

Triple plays have the power to shift the momentum of a game and demoralize the opposing team.

Teams often strategize and practice specific plays to increase their chances of executing a triple play when the opportunity arises.

The successful execution of a triple play can energize players and fans alike, turning the tide in favor of the defending team.

Challenges and Risks

Despite their potential rewards, triple plays are incredibly difficult to execute and require split-second decision-making and flawless execution.

The margin for error is razor-thin, and a single misstep can result in disaster for the defending team.

As such, attempted triple plays carry a significant risk, with the potential for catastrophic consequences.

Famous Triple Play Moments

One of the most memorable triple plays in recent memory occurred during a game between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox in 2016.

With the bases loaded and no outs, the Indians turned a 3-2-6 triple play, escaping a potentially game-changing situation. The play electrified the crowd and helped propel the Indians to victory.

Evolution of Triple Plays

Triple plays have evolved alongside the game of baseball, adapting to changes in strategy, technology, and player skill.

While the fundamentals of triple plays remain the same, teams have developed new tactics and defensive alignments to increase their chances of turning this rare feat.

Modern Trends

In recent years, advancements in technology and analytics have influenced the way teams approach triple plays.

Coaches and players use data-driven insights to anticipate and react to potential triple play situations, giving them a competitive edge on the field.

Additionally, improved training methods have helped players hone their defensive skills, making triple plays a more achievable goal.

The Rarity of the Triple Play: A Major League Marvel

In the fast-paced world of Major League Baseball, where lightning-quick reflexes and strategic plays are commonplace, there’s one feat that continues to inspire awe: the triple play.

Turning three outs on a single play is an anomaly, a defensive masterpiece that occurs only a handful of times each season.

So, how rare are triple plays in MLB history? Buckle up, because the answer might surprise you.

A Statistical Standout

Since the inception of Major League Baseball in 1876, there have only been around 735 documented triple plays.

That’s an average of just over five per season! Let that sink in for a moment. In a sport filled with countless at-bats and defensive maneuvers, this rare gem emerges a mere handful of times a year.

Why So Rare?

There’s a reason why triple plays are such a coveted occurrence. They require a unique confluence of factors:

  • Runners on Base: At least two baserunners are needed for a triple play to even be possible.
  • Fielding Finesse: The fielding team needs to flawlessly execute a series of throws and tags to record the outs.
  • Baserunning Blunders: Occasionally, baserunner mistakes, like failing to tag up, can contribute to a triple play.

The Unassisted Wonder

The rarest type of triple play elevates defensive brilliance to a whole new level: the unassisted triple play.

Here, a single fielder, typically a middle infielder like a shortstop or second baseman, completes all three outs themselves.

In the grand history of MLB, this has only happened a mere 15 times! That makes an unassisted triple play even rarer than a perfect game.

A Testament to Teamwork

While individual fielding prowess plays a part, a successful triple play is ultimately a testament to teamwork and defensive coordination.

It’s a thrilling display of on-field chemistry, leaving fans and players alike in a state of exhilaration.

So, the next time you witness a triple play, take a moment to appreciate its rarity. It’s a defensive marvel that showcases the remarkable athleticism and strategic thinking that goes into playing America’s favorite pastime.


Triple plays are a testament to the skill, strategy, and unpredictability of baseball. While rare, these extraordinary plays have left an indelible mark on MLB history, captivating fans and players for generations.

As the game continues to evolve, triple plays will remain a cherished and revered aspect of America’s pastime.

Frequently Asked Questions

Triple plays are extremely rare in MLB, with only a few occurring each season.

The fastest recorded triple play in MLB history occurred in just 13 seconds during a game between the Minnesota Twins and the Cleveland Indians in 1990.

The Chicago White Sox hold the record for the most triple plays in a single season, turning six triple plays during the 2016 season.

There are three main types of triple plays: the ground ball triple play, the line drive triple play, and the fly ball triple play.

Umpires rely on the rules of baseball to determine the validity of a triple play, ensuring that all outs are recorded in accordance with the game’s regulations.

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