The New York Yankees made Major League Baseball history on Sunday by becoming the 10th team ever to have three triple plays in one season. The Yankees accomplished the feat in the ninth inning to close out their game in a 2-1 New York win over the Oakland Athletics. The Yankees previously had a triple play this season in a 2-1 New York win over the Chicago White Sox on May 21, and in an 8-4 New York win over the Toronto Blue Jays on June 17.
On Sunday, the Yankees had a 5-4-3 triple play to close out the game. With the Athletics having their two runners on base in the ninth inning after Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman had back-to-back walks, Athletics catcher Sean Murphy hit the ball to Yankees’ third baseman Gio Urshela, who threw the ball to second base where DJ LeMahieu was. LeMahieu then threw the ball to Yankees’ first baseman Chris Gittens for the third and final out.
Nine other times a team has recorded three triple plays in a year. According to Baseball Almanac, they were the 1882 Cincinnati Red Stockings, the 1885 New York Giants, the 1886 Brooklyn Grays, the 1911 Detroit Tigers, the 1924 and 1979 Boston Red Sox, the 1964 Philadelphia Phillies, the 1965 Chicago Cubs, and the 2016 Chicago White Sox.
In all, the triple play has happened 727 times in the history of Major League Baseball, and this was the 27th time according to Betelhem Ashame of mlb.com, that the triple play closed out the game. The last time there was a ninth inning triple play to close out the game was on August 23, 2009, as Eric Bruntlett had an unassisted triple play in a 9-7 Phillies win over the New York Mets. Interestingly, that was the last time there has been an unassisted triple play.
There have been three triple plays in the ninth inning since 2009. But on all three of these occasions, the triple play did not end the game.