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Triple Steals

Posted by Steve Lombardi on May 11, 2011

Looking at this painting got me to look at this boxscore.  Related, via google, I found this Times article which references "triple steals." 

Was May 27, 2008 the last time in baseball that we had a triple steal?  It seems that way.  Anyone know?

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 11th, 2011 at 12:56 pm and is filed under History. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

21 Responses to “Triple Steals”

  1. John Autin Says:

    I really wanted to get excited about this play, but having watched the video, I would call it a "triple-steal" in name only.

    -- It doesn't even seem like an intentional steal. The Indians already led 7-2 in the 6th and had the bases loaded with 2 out, possibly a 3-2 count. The pitcher faked to 3rd, threw to 1st and caught Jamey Carroll breaking for 2nd. Konerko chased him toward 2nd until he spotted David Dellucci heading home; Konerko made an off-like throw that also bounced, and everyone was safe. Considering the game situation, including #3 hitter Ben Francisco at the plate (sporting a .342 BA), I'm pretty sure there was no intent to pull any kind of steal; Carroll just broke too soon. Now, intent doesn't affect the official scoring of a SB -- however....

    -- I would have charged an error on Konerko. An accurate throw would have nailed the runner easily.

    -- Finally, while it's hard to say for sure from angle provided in the video, the pitcher's "fake to 3rd" looked an awful lot like a pitching delivery, which would mean a balk when he stopped and threw to 1st.

  2. If there's a steal of home with the bases loaded, the trailing runners would be smart to just take the free SB because there isn't going to be a throw. So, the event doesn't seem as impressive as I had first imagined.

    I don't know how often a runner tries to steal home with the bases loaded though.

    Here's an old example... Carew stole home quite a bit in the late 60s.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/MIN/MIN196907161.shtml

  3. It's not impressive? It rarely happens and I think it's pretty impressive even if it was an accident. I think if you drill down deep enough on any event it can seem less impressive. Sometimes it's fun to just enjoy an usual feat.

  4. @4
    Oh, I'm *extremely* impressed by any steal of home and you're right I do enjoy the rarity of the event. But just looking at the trailing runners of the link I posted above. That' was Charlie Manuel's only career SB and the other runner was Harmon Killebrew. Its a freebie for those guys.

  5. And I thought a triple steal would have been a steal of second, third and home in succession, with the same batter up.

    I wonder if that has ever been done.

  6. I don't know if this will give you a comprehensive list, but the following search will give you a good number of triple steals.

  7. @6
    3 SB's in an inning for a player...

    Carew did it:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/MIN/MIN196905180.shtml

    That was almost a double-triple-steal with Tovar and Carew but Tovar only stole 3rd and Home that inning (but he did advance to 2B on a walk).

    I don't know why I have Carew in my head today. I'm sure others have stolen 2nd/3rd/Home in the same inning. I don't know how to search for it though.

  8. @9
    Ooops... I meant "(but he did advance to 2B on a balk)"

  9. Here is a list of players that stole 2nd, 3rd and home in the same inning:
    http://www.baseball-almanac.com/feats/stealing_second_third_home.shtml

  10. Steve, gotta agree with previous posters. Not a "true" triple steal.

    A triple steal could only occur with the bases juiced and a delayed steal of home.

    The runners on 1st and 2nd would have to be on the move and alert to what was going on. End of play runners on 3B and 2B and a run in.

    I can't imagine a manager calling a true triple steal. With the bases loaded, what would be the advantage

    A pure triple steal has never happened in baseball.

  11. DoubleDiamond Says:

    "The Indians stole three bases on the same play Tuesday night, 15 days after they turned the 14th triple play in major league history."

    Huh? Did they mean to say, "14th unassisted triple play in major league history"?

    Yes, they must have:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CLE/CLE200805122.shtml

    The Indians and Blue Jays split a doubleheader in Cleveland that day, with a pair of 3-0 scores. The unassisted triple play, by Asdrubal Cabrera (and now that I see the name, I actually remember reading about it at the time), came in the nightcap, which Cleveland lost in 10 innings. Cliff Lee pitched 9 scoreless innings. He gave up back-to-back singles to start the fifth but got out of it when Lyle Overbay hit that line drive to Cabrera. The Toronto starter, no, not Roy Halladay but Shawn Marcum, pitched 8 shutout innings.

  12. A pure triple steal has happened!

  13. John Autin Says:

    @7, Raphy -- That is a cool search trick you have there! Now I'm embarrassed to say that I never even thought of googling for B-R play-by-play info.

    If you have any other tips, I'd love to hear them.

    P.S. Thanks to Raphy's search, I found this triple-steal by the Tigers against the Yankees on July 4, 1961. Odd thing is, Rocky Colavito was at bat. Anyway, it gave Detroit a 3-2 lead in the top of the 9th. That lead didn't stand up -- but in the 10th, SP Frank Lary squeezed home the game-winner.
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYA/NYA196107042.shtml

  14. John Autin Says:

    This one has Joe Morgan leading the triple-steal (one of 4 SB in the game for him), with backup catcher Bill Plummer getting one of his 4 career SB as the trail man. It came with the pitcher batting, so it smells like a real steal.
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SFN/SFN197509141.shtml

  15. douglastheduke Says:

    didn't Ichiro anchor an attempt at a triple steal sometime last year?

  16. John Autin Says:

    This one has Tommy Davis leading Willie Davis and Ken McMullen. Might have been a collision at the plate, or else an argument, as Pirates catcher Jim Pagliaroni was replaced by Smoky Burgess immediately after the play.
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/LAN/LAN196309200.shtml

  17. John Autin Says:

    This one is just too rich: Catcher Johnny Oates (11 career SB, 19 CS) -- who earlier in the game stole 2nd and scored on a 2-out single -- credited with the steal of home as part of a triple-steal, with pitcher Dave McNally batting and 1 out. Brooks Robinson took 3rd and Davey Johnson 2nd, each logging his only SB of the year After the dust had settled, McNally struck out, and Brooks was picked off 3rd base.
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/TEX/TEX197206100.shtml

  18. Jackie Robinson's 1956 Topps card actually depicts him stealing home on that triple steal on Aug. 29, 1955: http://njbaseball.blogspot.com/2011/04/stealing-home-on-56-topps-card.html

  19. nightfly Says:

    @11 - If you're the defense and you know the bags are packed, and you see the other guys breaking, why would you throw the ball? The guy stealing third can't be there with the guy who isn't stealing home yet. Delaying the break for home only means handing over an out for free, doesn't it?

    So if I'm the catcher, I run the ball up the third-base line and the pitcher breaks for home. The guy on third can't try to steal with me heading his way and the guy coming from second is completely hosed.

  20. @ 6
    Jayson Werth stole 2nd, 3rd, and home in the same inning. I want to say it was last year, but I think it may have been 2009 against the Dodgers in Philadelphia.

    It was 2009
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PHI/PHI200905120.shtml