In a sport as old as baseball, which has been played since the 1880’s, you would think that everything that could be done has been done.
There was the first perfect game, the first no-hitter, the first combined no-hitter, the first home run even. There was a first triple play, the first unassisted triple play. Yet, there are still firsts to happen.
Of course players have firsts and always will. The Chicago Cubs’ third baseman Kris Bryant hit his first major league home run on Saturday. Carlos Rodon of the Chicago White Sox made his first career major league start on Saturday and collected his first major league win.
Teams have firsts. On Friday we were reminded that teams still have firsts too. Neither the Miami Marlins nor the San Diego Padres have ever had a player hit for the cycle. The cycle is when a single player hits a single, double, triple and home run in a single game.
Friday night the Padres came close. Youngster Wil Myers was a triple shy of the cycle and veteran Will Venable was a double short of hitting for the cycle. If team expansion continues then, yes, there will always be some kind of “firsts.”
For plays, however, you’d assume that in almost 150 years of baseball that some team, sometime, somewhere would have turned a 4-5-4 triple play. That’s a triple play in which the second baseman and third baseman combine to get three outs in just one play.
Well there had not been one in the recorded history of the game, until Saturday that is. The Pittsburgh Pirates’ second baseman Neil Walker made an incredible catch and throw to start a triple play against the St. Louis Cardinals. With men on second and third, Walker caught a line drive off the bat of Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina.
If Walker had stepped on second base the triple play would have never happened but quick thinking saved the historic triple play. Instead of stepping on second and getting out runner Jason Heyward, Walker threw to third baseman Jung Ho Kang. Kang stepped on third to retire Jhonny Peralta and threw the ball back to Walker who then got Heyward at second.
So instead of Molina getting a line drive that could have scored two runs for the Cardinals, all the Cardinals’ players on the field were out and Pirates’ pitcher Vance Worley got out of a two on, nobody out jam. And thus, Major League Baseball saw it’s very first 4-5-4 triple play.
Here take a look:
Walker also homered in the game as the Pirates went on to win 7-5 over the Cardinals, snapping a seven game losing streak.