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Game-Ending DPs That Went 8-2

Posted by Raphy on August 21, 2011

Today's Tigers-Indians game thrillingly ended when Austin Jackson threw out  Kosuke Fukudome at home plate for a game-ending double play.  The play was both exciting and rare.  Tyler Kepner of the New York Times put it best when he wrote:

I let out a “Wow!” Couldn’t help it. Not often do you see a game end on a double play from center field to the plate.

Since my mind is warped by thousands of PI searches, I immediately ran the batting event finder, and searched for game ending double plays to the center fielder,  eliminated the ones that did not end with the catcher and was left with this list. (This comes from the play-by play index which is complete since 1974 and  almost complete 1950-1973.)  Since there were no RBI's on any of these plays I included the responsible CF instead.

Yr# Date Batter Tm Opp Pitcher Score Inn RoB Out Center Fielder WPA RE24 LI Play Description
6 1977-09-05 (2) Willie Crawford OAK CHW Lerrin LaGrow down 2-1 b9 --3 1 Chet Lemon -0.41 -0.94 5.90 *ENDED GAME*:Double Play: Flyball: CF-C
7 1978-08-11 (2) Mike Edwards OAK @MIN Mike Marshall down 3-2 t9 --3 1 Dan Ford -0.32 -0.93 4.66 *ENDED GAME*:Fly Ball Double Play: CF-C
10 1979-09-13 Doug Flynn NYM PHI Tug McGraw down 2-1 b9 123 1 Greg Gross -0.52 -1.51 9.13 *ENDED GAME*:Double Play: Flyball: CF-C
15 1987-09-08 Roy Smalley MIN CHW Bobby Thigpen down 4-3 b9 123 1 Ken Williams -0.55 -1.65 8.57 *ENDED GAME*:Double Play: Flyball: CF-C
16 1988-09-27 Luis Alicea STL @PIT Jim Gott down 3-2 t9 1-3 1 Andy Van Slyke -0.37 -1.11 6.35 *ENDED GAME*:Double Play: Flyball: CF-C
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 8/21/2011.

Not often, indeed.

38 Responses to “Game-Ending DPs That Went 8-2”

  1. Steve Says:

    Interesting how they are all clumped together except the latest one.

  2. Steve Says:

    OT but Alex Gordon has been impressive throwing out baserunners from lf this year.

  3. Gonzo Says:

    Go G.G.!

  4. Zachary Says:

    I wonder if there's any particular reason all those are late in the season. Maybe both runners and fielders get more adventurous?

    But anyway, what a beautiful way to end a ballgame! So pretty you could frame it.

  5. Im_A_Shark7 Says:

    The lastest one could still get clumped together if a lot happen the next few years, though.

  6. John Autin Says:

    Great find, Raphy. Nice footwork by Jackson to make sure he had momentum going towards the plate.

    And a tough decision for the coach and runner at 3rd, since they also had the go-ahead run on 2nd base. By my WPA calculation, you send the runner if you think his chance of success is at least 45%.

    (My calculation may be off since I'm using TangoTiger's 2002 Win Expectancy table, the latest I could find on a quick search; the run context is a bit different now. I could also be off since this is my first stab at a WPA calculation.)

  7. Bob Hulsey Says:

    Interesting that Greg Gross was not a center fielder by trade and, in 1979 when this event occurred, he appeared in just 19 games as a center fielder. Of course, when you have Garry Maddox, why would you put anyone else out there?

  8. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Shark, what prompted your return?

  9. Sunday summary: Games of 8/21 » Baseball-Reference Blog » Blog Archive Says:

    [...] Sunday summary: Games of 8/21 Posted by John Autin on August 22, 2011 « Game-Ending DPs That Went 8-2 [...]

  10. Doug Says:

    Switching gears, another unusual game ending occurred today in the Blue Jays 1-0, 1-hit, team shutout of the As. Casey Janssen earned the save with 3 innings of no-hit ball.

    Janssen's save is one of only a handful of 3-inning saves since 2000 that were not recorded in blowout games. And, it's only the 2nd time in that period where the pitcher had to preserve a 1-run lead through his entire appearance (the prior game was Ramon Troncoso of the Dodgers against the Rockies, Apr 25, 2009).

    Any pitcher looking to picking up an easy save, tomorrow (Monday) is probably your best chance. These are the 3-inning saves since 2000 where the final victory margin is 15+ runs.
    - 2008-08-22, Cards over Braves, 18-3
    - 2007-08-22, Rangers over Orioles 30-3
    - 2003-08-24, As over Jays, 17-2
    - 2002-07-23, Red Sox over Devil Rays, 22-4
    - 2000-08-22, Padres over Mets, 16-1

  11. John Autin Says:

    @10, Doug -- I have a note on Janssen's 3-IP save in my Sunday summary:

    P.S. In the process of finding the last 3-IP save of a 1-0 win, I was amazed at how many 3-IP saves there were in the early '90s and the '80s.

  12. Doug Says:


    Thanks, John (I was debating whether to wait to see if you would be posting a wrap-up blog). I'll post this on that blog too.

  13. maTt Says:

    I just had to look up the runners who were nabbed at the plate:
    1977-09-05 Matt Keough (as a PR, was a P in MLB but played IF for his 1st 3 minor league seasons)
    1978-08-11 Glenn Burke (as a PR)
    1979-09-13 Joel Youngblood
    1987-09-08 Al Newman (as a PR)
    1988-09-27 Jose Oquendo

    So, 3 of the 5 pre-Fukudome were PRs.

    I noticed that all 6 of these were one-run wins (and assume that was not a part of the search criteria). On April 24 there was a RF-C flyball double play that ended a Nats at Pirates game at a score of 6-3 (obviously a bonehead attempt to score by McCutchen and/or his 3B coach Leyva). So I am curious as to what are the largest margins of victory in games that ended with a flyball double play at the plate?

  14. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    MaTt, you beat me to listing the runners! Nice work.

    I researched much the same topic as Raphy, taking only high-leverage situations into account. Eight games since 1950 have ended on left-fielder-to-catcher DPs, 10 on right-fielder-to-catcher DPs.

    A couple of notes:

    Willie Davis, as a bit player for the 1979 Angels, hit into a 7-2 double play to end a 3-2 loss to Baltimore on July 8, then was the runner tagged out at home on a throw from left fielder Joe Cannon to end a 6-5 loss to Toronto on August 17.

    Chronologically, the first four OF-C game-ending DPs that I pulled up were the games of 9/1/51, CHC-CIN; 6/1/56, CIN-NYG; 4/11/59, PIT-MLN; and 8/27/67 (1st game), CHW-BOS. Smoky Burgess hit into the game-ending fly-ball DP in the first of these four games, and played for the losing team in each game.

  15. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    what are the largest margins of victory in games that ended with a flyball double play at the plate?

    From what I was able to find, August 9, 1986, Twins 9, A's 2. Somehow it seems fitting that the runner was Dave Kingman.

  16. Russell Says:

    Can we rank these plays by SBs the runner thrown out had that season and OF assists the CF had? which of these plays threw out a fast runner or tested a strong arm?

  17. flyingelbowsmash Says:

    I was wondering what Kingman was doing on base, it must have been one of his 33 walks from that season. He hit 35 homers - which begs the question, how many guys have had more HRs than BB in a season?

  18. flyingelbowsmash Says:

    Kingman did it three other times, including his 48 HR year when he had a whopping 45 BB - I see the plate discipline helped the home run explosion :).

  19. nightfly Says:

    More HR than BB is impressive.

    I'm a slacker who doesn't have a PI subscription (booooo hissssss), but I get 185 occurences of HR > BB, and HR => 10. Juan Gonzalez seems to be your leader in the clubhouse, doing it six times and just missing a seventh in 1998 (45 hr, 46 bb). Tony Armas had five such years. Matt Williams did it four times in six seasons for the Giants, 1989-1994; he had the nearest of misses in 1990 when he had 33 hr and 33 bb, and he had 8 of each in 1988.

    Alfonso Soriano is another guy who prefers to trot all the bases instead of just the first one: he has four such seasons if you include this one (20 hr and 19 bb so far). Through 2005, in fact, Soriano had more CAREER hr than bb (162-157). Armas just misses for his whole career, 251 hr and 260 bb.

    That got me thinking about who has the most career homers with hr > bb. I can't see the name because I'm a skinflint, but he has 71 career homers; since that's not top-1000 all time, I can't see him on the career leaderboard, which only runs to 78.

  20. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Nightfly, Here's your man.

  21. John Says:

    Who were the catchers?

  22. John Autin Says:

    @19, Nightfly -- Kahuna's right about Todd Greene. But if we compare HRs to unintentional walks, Tony Armas takes the crown -- 251 HRs, 223 unintentional walks.

  23. Tmckelv Says:

    I like that the first two games on the list both involved the A's getting caught at home to end the 2nd game of a doubleheader.

    What a way to end a long day.

  24. nightfly Says:

    Kahuna, JA - thanks! Man, Greene almost blew it when he went to the NL, 19 hr and 30 bb. And nice catch about Tony Armas and subtracting out his IBB. I never even thought of doing that.

    Does the BB column include IBB as well? Because unless my math is off, that means Juan Gone vaults Armas - 434 hr, 383 unintentional walks.

  25. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Can we rank these plays by SBs the runner thrown out had that season and OF assists the CF had? . . . Who were the catchers?

    These are the 23 games with high-leverage game-ending OF-C double plays, sorted by position and then by most stolen bases for runner at third base.

    • 9/13/1979: Batter Doug Flynn, NYM; runner at 3B Joel Youngblood (18 SB); pitcher Tug McGraw, PHI; score 2-1 Phillies; play Greg Gross (CF, 5 assists for season) to Bob Boone, C (just came in to game as defensive replacement)
    • 8/11/1978, 2nd game: Batter Mike Edwards, OAK; runner at 3B Glenn Burke (16 SB); pitcher Mike Marshall, MIN; score 3-2 Twins; play Dan Ford (CF, 6 assists for season), to Glenn Borgmann, C
    • 9/8/1987: Batter Roy Smalley, MIN; runner at 3B Al Newman (15 SB); pitcher Bobby Thigpen, CHW; score 4-3 White Sox; play Ken Williams (CF, 6 assists for season) to Ron Hassey, C
    • 9/27/1988: Batter Luis Alicea, STL; runner at 3B José Oquendo (4 SB); pitcher Jim Gott, PIT; score 3-2 Pirates; play Andy Van Slyke (CF, 12 assists for season) to Mike Lavalliere, C
    • 9/5/1977, 2nd game: Batter Willie Crawford, OAK; runner at 3B Matt Keough (0 SB); pitcher Lerrin LaGrow, CHW; score 2-1 White Sox; play Chet Lemon (CF, 12 assists for season) to Jim Essian, C

    • 9/19/1980: Batter Dave Rosello, CLE; runner at 3B Toby Harrah (17 SB); pitcher Aurelio Lopez, DET; score 4-3 Tigers; play Steve Kemp (LF, 4 assists for season) to Lance Parrish, C
    • 7/8/1979: Batter Willie Davis, CAL; runner at 3B Brian Downing (3 SB); pitcher Don Stanhouse, BAL; score 3-2 Orioles; play Gary Roenicke* (LF, 10 assists for season) to Rick Dempsey, C
    • 5/11/1982: Batter Steve Nicosia, PIT; runner at 3B Mike Easler (1 SB); pitcher Dave Smith, HOU; score 4-2 Astros; play José Cruz (LF, 8 assists for season) to Alan Ashby, C
    • 8/17/1979: Batter Rod Carew, CAL; runner at 3B Willie Davis (1 SB); pitcher Dave Stieb, TOR; score 6-5 Blue Jays; play Joe Cannon (LF, 5 assists for season; just moved to LF from RF) to Rick Cerone, C
    • 9/6/1975: Batter Doug Rader, HOU; runner at 3B Larry Milbourne (1 SB); pitcher Brent Strom, SDP; score 2-1 Padres; play Bobby Tolan (LF, 5 assists for season) to Bob Davis, C
    • 4/11/1959: Batter Bob Skinner, PIT; runner at 3B Román Mejías (1 SB); pitcher Lew Burdette, MLN; score 4-3 Braves; play Wes Covington (LF, 6 assists for season) to Del Crandall, C
    • 5/24/2008: Batter Shane Victorino, PHI; runner at 3B Pedro Feliz (0 SB); pitcher Doug Brocail, HOU; score 4-3 Astros; play Darin Erstad (LF, 2 assists for season; just came in to game as defensive replacement) to Brad Ausmus, C
    • 9/1/1951: Batter Smoky Burgess, CHC; runner at 3B Bob Ramazzotti (0 SB); pitcher Herm Wehmeier, CIN; score 4-3 Reds; play Bob Usher (LF, 9 assists for season; just came in to game as defensive replacement) to Dixie Howell, C

    • 9/14/1971: Batter Joe Torre, STL; runner at 3B Lou Brock (64 SB); pitcher Chris Short, PHI; score 5-4 Phillies; play Willie Montañez (RF, 11 assists for season) to Tim McCarver, C
    • 4/15/1984: Batter Tony Bernazard, CLE; runner at 3B Brett Butler (52 SB); pitcher Sammy Stewart, BAL; score 6-5 Orioles; play Jim Dwyer (RF, 3 assists for season; just came in to game as defensive replacement) to Rick Dempsey, C
    • 6/30/1978: Batter Bill Robinson, PIT; runner at 3B Dave Parker (20 SB); pitcher Dale Murray, NYM; score 6-5 Mets; play Joel Youngblood (RF, 8 assists for season; came in at 2B in 8th, moved to RF in 9th) to John Stearns, C
    • 7/17/1986: Batter John Cangelosi, CHW; runner at 3B Wayne Tolleson (17 SB); pitcher Dave Righetti, NYY; score 5-4 Yankees; play Dave Winfield (RF, 9 assists for season) to Ron Hassey, C
    • 7/1/2007: Batter Brian Roberts, BAL; runner at 3B Melvin Mora (9 SB); pitcher Francisco Rodríguez, LAA; score 4-3 Angels; play Vladimir Guerrero (RF, 5 assists for season) to Mike Napoli, C
    • 8/27/1967, 1st game: Batter Duane Josephson, CHW; runner at 3B Ken Berry (9 SB); pitcher John Wyatt, BOS; score 4-3 Red Sox; play José Tartabull (RF, 3 assists for season) to Elston Howard, C
    • 6/22/1994: Batter Billy Hatcher, PHI; runner at 3B Kevin Stocker (8 SB); pitcher Alejandro Peña, PIT; score 5-4 Pirates; Orlando Merced (RF, 3 assists for season) to Don Slaught, C
    • 7/9/1971, 1st game: Batter Jim Hickman, CHC; runner at 3B Glenn Beckert (3 SB); pitcher Bob Miller, SDP; score 1-0 Padres; play Larry Stahl (RF, 11 assists for season) to Bob Barton, C
    • 7/17/1978: Batter Iván de Jesús, CHC; runner at 3B Larry Cox (0 SB); pitcher Bob Welch, LAD; score 4-3 Dodgers; play Reggie Smith (RF, 8 assists for season) to Steve Yeager, C (just came in to game as defensive replacement)
    • 6/1/1956: Batter Roy McMillan, CIN; runner at 3B Jim Dyck (0 SB); pitcher Windy McCall (NYG); score 3-2 Giants; play Whitey Lockman (RF, 3 assists for season; just moved to RF from LF) to Jim Mangan, C (just came in to game as defensive replacement)

    Looks like right fielders Montañez and Dwyer gunned down the fastest runners.

  26. John Autin Says:

    Would anyone care to check my work on computing the break-even success rate for sending the runner in that Cleveland game? I came up with a figure of about 42%.

    I'm using Tangotiger's 2002 Win Expectancy chart, because I haven't found one more recent:
    (When looking at the chart, keep in mind that all numbers are expressed from the home team's perspective.)

    Possible situations after the flyout to CF:

    -- Runner holds at 3rd:
    -- -- Top of 9th, 2 out, Home team ahead by 1 run, runners on 2nd and 3rd
    -- -- -- Home Team Win Expectancy = 0.793 (from chart)
    -- -- -- -- Road Team WE = 1 - 0.793 = 0.207

    -- Runner tries to score, runner safe:
    -- -- Top of 9th, 2 out, Game tied, runner 3rd (assuming he advances on throw to plate)
    -- -- -- Home Team WE = 0.504 (from chart)
    -- -- -- -- Road Team WE = 1 - 0.504 = 0.496

    -- Runner tries to score, runner out:
    -- -- Game over, Road Team loses (WE = 0).

    The break-even success rate for sending the runner is the rate at which (success rate times the success WE) minus (failure rate times the failure WE) is equal to "runner holds" WE.

    The failure WE is 0, so the equation simplifies to:

    S * 0.496 = 0.207
    S = 0.207 / 0.496
    S = 0.417

    Thus, the analysis of Win Expectancy says that you send the runner if the expected success rate is 42% or better.

    Did I mess that up?

    Of course, WE takes no account of any other element of the game situation -- pitcher, next batter, ballpark, etc. -- and a 2011 WE chart would be a little different based on a lower run context.

  27. eorns Says:

    On 8/27/86, the Mets upped the difficulty and pulled off what I think is an even more exciting game-ending double play. With one out and Garry Templeton on 2nd, Tim Flannery hit a single to CF. Lenny Dykstra charged and threw to Gary Carter to get Templeton at the plate. Meanwhile, Flannery never stopped running and tried for third, where he was thrown out by Carter. Voila, an 8-2-5 game-ending DP!

  28. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Here's an interesting one: Game-ending triple where the batter is tagged out trying to stretch his hit to an inside-the-park home run: Mariners vs. Twins, April 29, 1981.

  29. Austin Jackson’s feat hadn’t been pulled off since 1988 | HardballTalk Says:

    [...] Raphy did the research and saw only five games that had ended that way since 1973, the last coming 23 years [...]

  30. nightfly Says:

    Odd way to end a game... odder still that it would have been the go-ahead run, and then they didn't play the ninth inning, and called the game.

    That was the second game of the same day to end tied. I guess they were going to replay them but the strike threw everything off?

  31. maTt Says:

    Great stuff, K. Tuna.

  32. John Autin Says:

    Kahuna, put down the game-ending triple and step away from the box score! The Engle game is mine -- mine, I tells ya! 🙂

    Oh, alright ... I'll share.

  33. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Kahuna, put down the game-ending triple and step away from the box score! The Engle game is mine -- mine, I tells ya!

    The good stuff is always off limits, isn't it? (-;þ What's that old line? — something like, "Put a million stat geeks on the Play Index for a million years, and eventually two of them will pull up a game-ending triple in a game that ended tied because of rain." Maybe I've garbled the line a little, but no matter . . . everyone knows it.

    And here's a nugget from the Engle game that you may not have noticed, John: Two batters behind Engle is the outfielder who, five years later, threw out Dave Kingman at the plate to end the 8/9/86 Twins-A's game (see my post #15 above).

  34. The Frustrated Fan Says:

    Thanks for the longer list, Kahuna Tuna. But you missed this one, from a game I remember watching: June 13, 1991, Cubs vs. Giants. With the bases loaded, Andre Dawson (7 assists in RF that year) caught a fly ball off the bat of Mike Kingery and threw out Tony Perezchica (zero SB, 1 CS) at home to end the game. Cubs win 4-3.

  35. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    You're right, TFF. My apologies! I assembled my list from game lists copied from several PI runs, and I must have just missed that one. Thanks for the correction. (And, I assume, belated condolences for the ending of that 1991 game.)

  36. The Frustrated Fan Says:

    @Kahuna Tuna - I'm not a Giants fan, I'm a Cubs fan. So no condolences are necessary for that 1991 game, although plenty of condolences may be necessary for everything else I've endured.

  37. Top Five: Highlights From Tigers’ Weekend Sweep Of Indians - Detroit MI DIRECTV Service Says:

    [...] catch in shallow center, followed by gunning down Kosuke Fukudome at home plate (for a rare 8-2 double play on your scorecard) may have been the difference maker in this season. How many times have the [...]

  38. Raphy Says:

    @26 John - The Man himself links to your calculations and then does some of his own: