How Rare is a Triple Play? Rarer Than You Think
Last night the Minnesota Twins kicked off their 3-game series against the New York Yankees with a triple play. Not something you see every day. But how rare is it to get three outs in a single play? Rarer than you think.
Third baseman Luis Arraez started the party fielding the grounder off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion, stepped on his bag for the first out, flung the ball to Jonathan Schoop for the turn at second, who then relayed the ball to Miguel Sano at first for the 5-4-3 triple play.
It's not something you see every day. But how rare is it to get three outs in a single play? Rarer than you think.
According to Baseball-Reference.com, before any of today's scheduled games have begun (July 23, 2019), there have been 218,582 games played dating back to the beginning of the National League in 1876. In all of that time there have been 387,942 double plays recorded. That's an average of 1.77 double plays per game. Baseball-Reference does not have a statistic for triple plays so I had to look elsewhere for that.
According to Baseball-Almanac.com, the Twins triple killing was only the 719th triple play in Major League Baseball history. That means a triple play happens once every 300 games on average. It was the 13th in Twins history, or the 36th in franchise history. (The Washington Senators relocated to Minnesota and became the Twins in 1961.)
On July 19, 1991 the Twins recorded two triple plays in the same game against the Boston Red Sox.
94 of the type of triple play scored by the Twins last night, 5-4-3, is the most common. Only 15 unassisted triple plays have every happened.
Of all of those numbers I'm just happy about the two that matter. The Twins beat the Yankees 8-6.