Umpire Rulings In A Triple Play

(Trickery, Confusion, Decision)
[Dropped Third Strikes, Dropped Flies, Trapped Balls, Rule Confusion, and Trickery]


Revised July 31, 2006
Assembled by Frank Hamilton

 

1879 0626 BOSTON NL vs PROVIDENCE NL

Trickery – Pop Snyder, catcher of Boston, intentionally dropped third strike on Bill Hague, the Providence batter.

Confusion – Batter and runners on first and second, Lew Brown and Tom York were forced to run and were all putout.

Decision – Umpire ruled that Snyder did not hold ball long enough for Hague to be the only out at the plate.

 

1880 0520 CHICAGO NL vs CLEVELAND NL

Trickery – Silver Flint, catcher for Chicago, intentionally dropped third strike on Jack Glasscock, the Cleveland batter.

Confusion – Batter and runners on first, second and third, Frank Hankinson, Bill Phillips and Ned Hanlon were forced to run and Hanlon, Hankinson and Glasscock were quickly putout.

Decision – Umpire was moot and allowed play to stand.

 

1882 0505 TROY NL at BOSTON NL

Trickery – Buck Ewing, catcher for Troy, intentionally dropped third strike on Sam Wise, the Boston batter.

Confusion – Batter and runners on first and second, Ezra Sutton and Pete Hotaling were forced to run and all were putout.

Decision – Umpire allowed play to stand.

 

1882 0530 BUFFALO NL at BOSTON NL

Trickery – Deacon White, catcher for Buffalo, intentionally dropped third strike on John Morrill, the Boston batter.

Confusion – Batter and runners on first, second and third, Ezra Sutton, Pete Hotaling and Sam Wise were forced to run and Hotaling, Sutton and Morrill were putout.

 Decision – Morrill refused to run to first.  In the meantime, Wise crossed home plate but umpire refused to count the run and upheld the three men being putout.

 

1882 0606 CINCINNATI AA vs BALTIMORE AA

Trickery – Pop Snyder, catcher for Cincinnati, intentionally dropped third strike on Harry Jacoby, the Baltimore batter.

Confusion – Batter and runners on first, second and third, Charlie Householder, Ed Whiting and Henry Myers were forced to run and Myers, Whiting and Householder were putout.

Decision – Umpire was moot and allowed play to stand.

 

1882 0622 CINCINNATI AA vs PITTSBURGH AA

Trickery – Chuck Fulmer, shortstop for Cincinnati, intentionally let pop fly drop that was hit by Johnny Peters, batter for Pittsburgh.

Confusion – Runners on first and second, Mike Mansell and Ed Swartwood, certain that Fulmer would catch the ball, held their bases.  When ball dropped to the ground, Fulmer scooped it up and threw to Bid McPhee who putout Mansell on a forceout and tagged Swartwood.  Later, due to the fact that Peters, the batter, was disgusted with his pop fly, and did not run to first, a throw there put him out also.

Decision – Pittsburgh argued that Fulmer, in fact, did catch the ball, but the umpire did not agree.

 

1882 0726 ST. LOUIS AA at BALTIMORE AA

Trickery – Sleeper Sullivan, catcher for St. Louis, intentionally dropped third strike to Monk Cline, batter for Baltimore.

Confusion – Batter and , runners on first, second and third, Tom Brown, Charlie Householder and Ed Whiting were forced to run and Whiting, Householder and Brown were all putout.

Decision – Umpire let the play stand.

 

1882 0913 CINCINNATI AA vs LOUISVILLE AA

Trickery – Pop Snyder, catcher for Cincinnati, dropped the third strike to Dan Sullivan, batter for Louisville.

Confusion – Batter and runners on first and second, Chicken Wolf and Guy Hecker, were forced to run, and all were putout.

Decision – Umpire let the play stand.

 

1884 0728 PHILADELPHIA AA vs BROOKLYN AA

Trickery – Jack O’Brien, catcher for Philadelphia, dropped (or so he thought) the third strike to Bill Greenwood, batter for Brooklyn.

Confusion – Batter and runners on first, second and third, Billy Geer, Jack Remsen and Jimmy Knowles thought they had to go for the next base and did so.  O’Brien threw to first, thinking he was retiring the batter Bill Greenwood, and Harry Stovey, the first baseman, threw back to O’Brien when he noticed Knowles coming home.  O’Brien tagged Knowles out, then Stricker, Houck, and Corey of Philadelphia eventually ran down runner Remsen.

Decision – In actuality, the umpire decided that O’Brien had held the ball sufficiently long on the third strike to declare the batter out at the plate and that O’Brien’s throw to first was meaningless.  If the runners had held their bases only Greenwood, the batter, would have been out, but when the runners came off their bases they were doing so at their own peril and a triple play was completed.

 

1885 0513 BROOKLYN AA at PITTSBIRGH AA

Trickery – Jackie Hayes, catcher for Brooklyn, dropped the third strike to Hank O’Day, batter for Pittsburgh.

 Confusion – O’Day, the batter refused to run to first and force the runners on first, second and third, Pop Smith, Jim Field and Charlie Eden to run.  O’Day thought he had merely struck out.

Decision – After Jackie Hayes, the catcher touched home plate, then threw to third and Bill McClellan, the third baseman, relayed the ball to first, the umpire ruled all hands were out, despite objections of the Pittsburgh club.

 

1885 0623 PHILADELPHIA AA at BALTIMORE AA

Trickery – Harry Stovey, the Philadelphia first baseman, apparently trapped a line drive off the bat of Jimmy Macullar of Baltimore.

Confusion – Runners on second and third, Tim Manning and Hardie Henderson were off and running. 

Decision – Stovey’s throw to Cub Stricker, at second, and Stricker’s throw  to Fred Corey, at third, putout the runners and the batter when the umpire ruled that Stovey had legitimately caught Macullar’s line drive.

 

1885 0709 ST. LOUIS AA vs BROOKLYN AA

Trickery – Doc Bushong, the St. Louis catcher, dropped the third strike to Bill Phillips, the Brooklyn batter.

Confusion – When Phillips ran to first, the runners on first and second, Bill McClellan and Ed Swartwood were forced to run and they and the batter, Bill Phillips, were declared out on the subsequent defensive plays.

Decision – The umpire let the play stand.  Side retired.

 

1886 0810 BOSTON NL vs KANSAS CITY NL

Trickery – John Morrill, the Boston first baseman, let a popup off the bat of Pete Conway, Kansas City’s batter, drop untouched.

Confusion – Runners on first, second and third, Fatty Briody, Jim Donnelly and Jim Whitney were forced off their bases and all three were putout.

Decision – The umpire let the play stand.

 

1889 0624 CHICAGO NL vs NEW YORK NL

Trickery – Charlie Bastian, Chicago shortstop, dropped a fly ball off the bat of Gil Hatfield.

Confusion – Runners on first and second, Jim O’Rourke and Danny Richardson were forced off their bases and Hatfield ran to first.  All three men were putout.

Decision – Umpire let the play stand.

 

1890 0430 ROCHESTER AA vs BROOKLYN AA

Trickery – Marr Phillips, the Rochester shortstop, let a popup off the bat of John Peltz, drop untouched.

Confusion – Runners on first, second and third, Frank Fennelly, Steve Toole and Herman Pitz were unsure whether to hold their bases or run but did leave their bases and were all putout.

Decision – After hearing the protests of the Brooklyn club that only the batter should have been declared out (per league instructions to the umpires), Umpire Barnum declared the side out saying that he never heard of any instructions (likely a forerunner to an infield fly rule).

 

1890 0715 CHICAGO PL at PHILADELPHIA PL

Trickery – Fred Pfeffer, the Chicago second baseman, let a pop fly over the pitcher’s head drop untouched.  Batter was John Pickett.

Confusion – Runners on first , second and third, Billy Shindle, Mike Griffin and Ben Sanders were putout by subsequent throws by the Chicago infielders and catcher.

Decision – Umpire let the play stand as played out.

 

1893 0524 PITTSBURG NL vs ST. LOUIS NL

Trickery – Connie Mack, the Pittsburgh catcher, trapped (intentionally ?) a pop up between home plate and first base.  The batter was Sandy Griffin.

Confusion – Even though batter Griffin was declared out under the infield fly rule, the runner at third, Steve Brodie, seeing that Mack had not caught the ball tried to score and he was putout.  During the Brodie scoring attempt, the runner at second, Heinie Peitz, tried for third and was also put out.

Decision – The umpire let the play stand.

 

 1893 0526 BROOKLYN NL at BALTIMORE NL

Trickery – Danny Richardson, the Brooklyn second baseman, let a pop fly near the mound drop to the ground.  The batter was John McGraw.

Confusion – The bases were loaded with runners with George Treadway at first, Willard Brown at second and Tim O’Rourke at third.  The defense promptly forced out all the runners.

Decision – The umpire let the play stand.  Umpires of the era apparently applied the “infield fly rule” unevenly (see game of 1896 0524 Pittsburgh NL vs St. Louis NL just 2 days before).

 

1893 0722 CINCINNATI NL at ST. LOUIS NL

Trickery – Bid McPhee, the Cincinnati second baseman, purposely let a pop fly drop to the ground untouched.  The batter was Jimmy Bannon.

Confusion – The runners, Steve Brodie at first and Tommy Dowd at second, did not run thinking the ball would be caught.  Both runners were putout and the batter, Jimmy Bannon, was putout when he did not run to first.

Decision – The umpire let the play stand.

 

1894 0815 BOSTON NL vs PITTSBURGH NL

Trickery – Tommy McCarthy, center fielder for Boston, ran in and made a bluff to catch a fly ball off the bat of Bill Merritt.  Then he let the ball drop untouched.

Confusion – The runner on second, Joe Sugden, held his base even though he was forced to run and was tagged out by Bobby Lowe, the second baseman.  The runner on first, Fred Hartman, was putout on the force play when Lowe stepped on second.  Merritt, the batter, did not run to first, and was tagged out.

Decision – Umpire let the play stand.

 

 1895 0502 CHICAGO NL vs LOUISVILLE NL

Trickery – There was no trickery by the defense when Bill Dahlen, the shortstop for Chicago, caught a fly ball over the infield off the bat of Fred Clarke.

Confusion – The runners, Ambrose McGann on first and Bert Cunningham on second, were confused by the new rules and were standing on the basepaths.  They were promptly putout.

Decision – The umpire let the play stand.

 

1895 0613 NEW YORK NL vs ST. LOUIS NL

Trickery – There was no trickery when Amos Rusie, the New York pitcher, just could not reach a bunt fly near first base off the bat of Duff Cooley.

Confusion – Even though Cooley was called out by the new “infield fly “ rule, the runners, Tom Brown, at first, and Ted Breitenstein, at second, started to run when they saw Rusie could not reach Cooley’s bunt fly.  They both were putout.

Decision – Umpire let the play stand.

 

1897 0515 NEW YORK NL at CINCINNATI NL

Trickery – There was no trickery when Cy Seymour, the New York pitcher, caught a popup off the bat of Charlie Irwin.

Confusion – The runner on second, Dusty Miller, left the bag and was putout on Seymour’s throw to George Davis, the shortstop.  Davis then threw to first baseman Jake Beckley and when the runner on first, Farmer Vaughn, jarred the ball loose, he was declared out for interference.

Decision – The umpire was prominent on the interference call on Farmer Vaughn.

 

1897 0529-2 BROOKLYN NL at PITTSBURGH NL

Trickery – It is not certain whether the trapped fly ball by Mike Griffin, the Brooklyn center fielder, off the bat of Dick Padden was intentional or not.

Confusion – The runner on second, Steve Brodie, was tagged out by Griffin who was running in with the ball in hand.  The runner on first, Patsy Donovan, was forced out at second.  Meanwhile, batter Padden tried to stretch his fly hit into a double and was putout.

Decision – Umpire let the play stand.

 

1898 0720 NEW YORK NL vs PITTSBURGH NL

Trickery – There may have been no trickery when Mike Grady, the New York catcher, handled a popup near the plate off the bat of Jesse Tannehill.

Confusion – Runners Tom McCreery, on first, and Patsy Donovan, on second, started running when they thought Grady “trapped” the ball.  The defense put out both runners.

Decision – Despite a strong protest by Pittsburgh, the umpire ruled that Grady has caught the popup.

 

1898 0723 CHICAGO NL at CLEVELAND NL

Trickery – This play was not trickery but was controversial by a series of umpire calls.

Confusion – Not specifically a confusion, but the runner on third, Chief Zimmer broke for home early when a fly ball off the bat of Jesse Burkett was caught by Jimmy Ryan, the left fielder.  Ryan threw to Barry McCormick, the third baseman, who touched the bag, and the umpire called Zimmer out.  Later, runner Cy Young was putout at second.

Decision – The triple play occurred after two controversial calls by the umpire, one allowing batter Chief Zimmer to occupy base on an “apparent” foul ball and another, allowing the next batter, Cy Young,  to reach first because he thought Frank Isbell, the pitcher, had dropped Young’s bunt fly.  His last decision was to uphold the out on Zimmer for leaving base early during the triple play.  That play today would be called an “appeal” play.

 

 1901 0714 MILWAUKEE AL at CHICAGO AL

Trickery – This was an appeal play and was not trickery.

Confusion – With runners on first, Sam Mertes, second, Fielder Jones, and third, Dummy Hoy, Jiggs Donahue, Milwaukee first baseman, caught a line drive off the bat of Frank Isbell.  Runners were on the move.  Donahue doubled up Sam Mertes by stepping on first base but was unable to cut down Fielder Jones at second.  Meanwhile, Hoy scored.  However, second baseman Billy Gilbert threw to third baseman, Bill Friel who stepped on third, believing that Dummy Hoy had left third base early.

Decision – Umpire Cantillon first ruled that Hoy had scored but, when it was brought to his attention that Hoy has left third early and Friel had touched third, he declared Hoy out on the appeal.

 

1905 0415 PITTSBURGH NL at CINCINNATI NL

 Trickery – Pop fly appeared to be trapped confusing the runners (intentional?).

Confusion – With Cincinnati runners on first, Ed Phelps, and second, Tommy Corcoran, batter Bob Ewing sent a pop fly toward first.  Bill Clancy, Pittsburgh first baseman, with extraordinary effort got the ball in his mitt.  The runners took off believing Clancy had trapped the ball.  Pittsburgh defenders including Clancy, outfielder Fred Clarke, picking up a missed catch by second baseman Claude Ritchey, and Ritchey putout both runners.

Decision – Umpire Bill Klem decided that Clancy had made a legal catch and all hands were out.

 

1905 0601 ST. LOUIS NL at CINCINNATI NL

Trickery – The controversy involved an interference call on the offense and did not involve trickery by the defense.

Confusion – With Cincinnati runners on first, Tommy Corcoran, and second, Miller Huggins, batter Cy Seymour, ordered to bunt, sent a pop fly in the direction of first.  Both runners were certain that the ball would fall safe, and tore around the bases.  However, first baseman Jake Beckley caught the ball and tossed to second baseman Harry Arndt and, although he muffed the ball, was able to putout Huggins.  Then Arndt threw to pitcher Jake Thielman, covering first, and he tagged Corcoran, coming back from second.

Decision – Umpire Johnstone declared Corcoran out for interference with Arndt’s catch on the relay from Beckley, (the reason Arndt muffed the ball) and the later tag on Corcoran by Thielman was, in reality, unnecessary.

 

 1911 DETROIT AL vs ST. LOUIS AL

Trickery – George Moriarty, Detroit third baseman, camped under an infield fly off the bat of Frank LaPorte and even though Umpire O’Laughlin called “infield fly, batter out” Moriarty let the ball slip thru his fingers, most likely intentionally to confuse the runners.

Confusion – Runners Jim Murray, at first and Jimmy Austin, at second were also confused by the action of Donie Bush, the Detroit shortstop, when he called for Moriarty to throw him the ball while he was near third base.  Murray left first, thinking he would be forced out and the same logic occurred to Jimmy Austin and he started for third.  Bush, quickly running back to second tagged both runners. If the runners would have held their bases, only batter LaPorte would have been putout.

Decision – Umpire Silk O’Laughlin, having already ruled on the infield fly, let the play stand.

 

1922 0903 NEW YORK NL vs PHILADELPHIA NL

Trickery – The trickery here was subtle.  After an infield fly by Jimmy Smith, Philadelphia batter, dropped untouched, for which the umpire called him out, the further actions of the runners and the defense caused the demise of both runners.

Confusion – The first confusion was that of Dave Bancroft, New York shortstop, who received a throw from Ross Youngs, the right fielder who was nearest the untouched infield fly.  Bancroft then touched second base thinking he was forcing out the runner on first, Roy Leslie.  This action caused the runner on second, Cliff Lee, to head for third.  Bancroft threw the ball to Heinie Groh, the third baseman, who tagged Lee out.  George Kelly, the first baseman, called for Groh to throw him the ball and he tagged out Leslie who also had ventured off first and was trying to scramble back.

Decision – The Umpire, after ruling on the infield fly, let the ensuing action play out.

 

1929 CHICAGO AL vs CLEVELAND AL

Trickery – The trickery here was that of a hidden ball to get the third out.

Confusion – With Cleveland runners on first, Charlie Jamieson, and second, Johnny Hodapp, the batter, Carl Lind, grounded to Bill Cissell, the Chicago shortstop, who threw out Lind at first.  In the meantime, Hodapp tried to score from second but got caught in a rundown by Buck Crouse, the catcher, and Willie Kamm, the third baseman.  Jamieson, who had secured third base during the other maneuvers, felt quite secure at third base and ventured off.  But Kamm, who had hidden the ball in his glove, tagged him out.

Decision – The Umpire let the play stand.

 

 1931 0906-2 CINCINNATI NL vs ST. LOUIS NL

Trickery – After a double play, the hidden ball trick was used to get out three.

Confusion – With St. Louis runners on first, Chick Hafey, and third, Jim Bottomley, batter Jimmie Wilson flied out to left fielder Nick Cullop.  Cullop threw to catcher Lena Styles nabbing Bottomley at the plate trying to score after the catch.  Styles threw the ball to Leo Durocher, the shortstop, but not in time to get Hafey who advanced to second.  Durocher hid the ball effectively and when Hafey came off the bag he threw to second baseman Tony Cuccinello, who tagged Hafey out.

Decision – Umpire let the play stand.

 

1937 0426 NEW YORK AL vs PHILADELPHIA AL

Trickery – Tony Lazzeri, New York second baseman, purposely dropped a line drive off the bat of Chubby Dean.

Confusion – The runner on first, Bob Johnson, and the runner on second, Wally Moses, were forced to run.  Lazzeri tossed to Frankie Crosetti, the shortstop, to force Johnson, then the relay to Lou Gehrig, the first baseman, putout batter Dean.  Gehrig threw to Red Rolfe, the third baseman, who tagged Moses sliding into third.

Decision – The umpire let the play stand.

 

1937 0712 NEW YORK NL at PHILADELPHIA NL

Trickery – Thee was no trickery on the play, but there was confusion about a “trapped” ball.

Confusion – With Philadelphia runners on first, Johnny Moore, second, Hersh Martin, and third, Leo Norris, batter Morrie Arnovich lofted a fly to right.  Mel Ott, New York right fielder, ran in and made a diving catch near the ground, then threw to Gus Mancuso, the catcher, to head off Norris who had believed that Ott had trapped the ball.  Norris retreated and Mancuso threw to Dick Bartell, the shortstop, to putout Martin and he threw to Lou Chiozza, the third baseman, to putout Norris coming back to third.

Decision – The umpire allowed Ott’s catch and the later action to stand.

 

1939 0601 BROOKLYN NL vs CHICAGO NL

Trickery – Cookie Lavagetto, the Brooklyn third baseman, trapped a sacrifice bunt popup off the bat of Jimmy Gleeson.

Confusion – Lavagetto, after trapping the bunt attempt by Gleeson, threw to Johnny Hudson, the second baseman, who was covering first and he tagged Billy Herman the Chicago runner who did not move off first. Then Hudson stepped on first putting out batter Gleeson.  Hudson fired back to Lavagetto to get runner Stan Hack, advancing to third from his original position at second.  When Hack retreated back to second, Lavagetto threw to Leo Durocher, the shortstop, who tagged Hack out.

Decision – The umpire let the play stand.

 

1956 0925-1 ST. LOUIS NL at CHICAGO NL

Trickery – Trickery was not intended. With the bases full of Cubs, batter Solly Drake lined to Stan Musial, St. Louis first baseman, who appeared to trap the ball.

Confusion – Chicago had a runner on first, Dave Hillman, on second, Hobie Landrith, and on third, Gene Baker.  Musial, acting as if he had caught the ball off the bat of Drake, threw to Dick Schofield, the shortstop, doubling Landrith off second.  Schofield threw to Don Blasingame, the second baseman, who was covering first but the throw was too late to catch Hillman off the bag.  Blasingame then threw the ball to the pitcher, Lindy McDaniel.  Manager Fred Hutchinson of the Cardinals shouted instructions to McDaniel and the pitcher threw to Ken Boyer, the third baseman, to triple up Baker who had raced home.

Decision – The umpire upheld that Musial had legally caught the ball.

 

1980 0622-1 CHICAGO AL vs DETROIT AL

Trickery – Not particularly a trick, but runners left their bases on an apparent dropped drive to Chicago right fielder Harold Baines.

Confusion – With Detroit runners on first, Lou Whitaker, and third, Jim Lentine, batter Duffy Dyer hit a line drive to right fielder Harold Baines.  The ball fell out of  Baines’ glove but was ruled a catch, and was picked up by Jim Morrison, the second baseman, who threw to Mike Squires, the first baseman, doubling up Whitaker.  Squires threw to Greg Pryor, the third baseman, who stepped on the bag to putout Lentine.

Decision – Other than ruling that Baines had made a catch, the umpire let the play stand.

 

 1981 0411 ST. LOUIS NL vs PHILADELPHIA NL

Trickery – There was no trickery, but both the defense and runners were confused by an apparent trapped ball.

Confusion – With Philadelphia runners on first, second and third, Mike Schmidt, Bake McBride and Manny Trillo respectively, batter Gary Matthews hit a low line drive to shortstop Gary Templeton, who apparently trapped it, but was ruled a catch.  Even Templeton thought he had trapped the ball and threw home to Darrell Porter, the catcher, who stepped on the plate trying to force out Trillo.  Not getting force out Porter threw to Keith Hernandez, the first baseman, but Schmidt had already tagged up.  Hernandez threw to Tom Herr, the second baseman, who tagged Schmidt out.  Herr threw to Ken Oberkfell, the third baseman, who tagged out McBride coming in from second.

Decision – Apparently the umpire’s ruling of a catch by Templeton was a surprise to both the Cardinals and Phillies.

 

2006 0611 KANSAS CITY AL vs TAMPA BAY AL

Trickery – This was not trickery but was an appeal play by the defense.

Confusion – With Tampa Bay runners on first and third, Rocco Baldelli and Aubrey Huff, respectively, batter Russell Branyan lofted a fly to shallow center that was caught by center fielder David DeJesus.  DeJesus threw wildly home trying to nab Huff at the plate.  The ball sailed over the head of Paul Bako, the catcher, but was picked up by pitcher Scott Elarton who was backing up the play.  Elarton threw to Angel Berroa, the shortstop, who tagged out Baldelli coming from first.  Berroa threw to Mark Teahen, the third baseman, who touched the bag and the Royals appealing to the umpire that Huff had left third early, completed the triple play.

Decision – Umpire Bob Davidson upheld the appeal and all hands were out.








SUMMARY PLAY-BY-PLAY FIELDERS FIELDERS CAREER
BATTED INTO RUNNERS CAUGHT HIT TYPE
ASSISTs-POs OUT SEQ TRIVIA DATA NEEDED



YEAR MONTH BY TEAM STADIUM INNING
SCORE COMBINATIONS ANALYSIS TEAM FIRSTS
DISTINCTIVE and UNUSUAL