In Monday’s 4-0 loss to Washington, the Dodgers came within a hair of turning a triple play — a straight-arrow, around-the-horn, 5-4-3 triplet-killing.
It would have been the Dodgers fourth triple play since moving to Los Angeles. The franchise had 19 triple plays in Brooklyn, including two within eight days of each other, May 21 and 29, in its inaugural NL season of 1890 (wins No. 11 and 17 of 10,003 so far). However, the Dodgers then went without a triple play from 1949 until 1996.
In the first inning at Atlanta on June 15, 1996, Chipper Jones hit a pop fly deep behind shortstop. Juan Castro caught it, threw to Delino DeShields at second base to double up Marquis Grissom, and Grissom threw to Eric Karros at first base to triple up Mark Lemke.
Then on June 13, 1998, Los Angeles turned its second triple play, when Darren Dreifort fielded a fifth-inning bunt by Kurt Abbott that landed in front of the mound, starting a chain reaction that retired the two runners on base. One of those retired on the play was Colorado’s 23-year-old starting pitcher, Jamey Wright. The throws went from Dreifort to shortstop Jose Vizcaino to force Perez, then to Eric Young at first base to retire Abbott, and finally across the diamond to Bobby Bonilla at third base to tag out Wright.
Colorado wasn’t too happy about a triple play that wouldn’t have happened if the infield fly rule could have been applied, but the most recent Dodger triple play, on April 15, 2012, was far more controversial.
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At the time, I wrote about the debate over this triple play at Dodger Thoughts.
The triple plays before and after the 47-year gap 1949-1996 were by and against the same franchises, with Boston (Braves) now Atlanta and Brooklyn now Los Angeles.
I remember Atlanta and SD. But I don’t recall Colorado. But that was just after the trade and 1998 became nothing but a dismal foggy memory.
I remember thinking a way back in my early years as a Dodger fan when they were in Brooklyn that I had never seen a Dodger triple play. I remember that one in 1949, which I believe involved Gene Hermanski, but I’m not sure, but I feel fortunate to have seen a few since the team has been in LA.
I hate to dispute the record…. I was at the Memorial Day Double Header at the Polo Grounds in 1962 against the Mets. While total recall escapes me, I KNOW the Dodgers turned a triple play in one of the two games. In addition, Tommy Davis hit for the cycle, and Sandy shut out the Mets on a two-hitter striking out like 15 batters. I was 12 years old, not some little kid….. and remember talking to my dad who had never seen a triple play executed before in his life….. Please ask someone to look that one up….. I know I’m right!
May 30, 1962:
Boxscore for Game 1: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYN/NYN196205301.shtml
Koufax struck out 10, allowing 13 hits, Tommy Davis went 2 for 5, no triple plays.
Boxscore for Game 2: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYN/NYN196205302.shtml
Tommy Davis went 0 for 4, no triple plays.
Jeffrey S. Thomas
According to Baseball Almanac, May 30, 1962, the Mets turned a triple play against the Dodgers. Men on first and second and the play was 6 – 4 – 3.