How Many Triple Plays In MLB History?

Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

There aren’t a lot of plays in Major League Baseball that are tougher to pull off successfully than the triple play. In MLB, the odds are about 1,400-to-1 odds of seeing such a play in a game. Those are long odds for any bet at any US betting sites.

According to MLB.com, there have been 735 triple plays in Major League history.

Last year, there were two such plays. One was by the Atlanta Braves against the Boston Red Sox on July 25 and the other was pulled off by the Los Angeles Angels against the Tampa Bay Rays on Aug. 18.

There have been 14 triple plays since 2020, illustrating how rare the feat is in the grand scheme of the nation’s pastime at its highest level. That led us at USBettingReport.com to wonder how such plays have gone down in the past as they were notated in the scorebook. Check out MLB odds and lines all season with USBR.

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How Many Triple Plays In MLB History?; Historical Totals

Fielders Occurrences Percentage Most Recent
5-4-3 105 14.29% Sept. 20, 2022
6-4-3 58 7.89% Sept. 18, 2022
4-6-3 44 5.99% June 6, 2014
3-3-6 41 5.58% Aug. 22, 2022
6-6-3 28 3.81% Jul. 8, 2016
4-4-3 22 2.99% May 2, 2017
4-3-6 18 2.45% May 3, 1985
1-6-3 16 2.18% May 19, 1997
All Others 403 54.8% ---
Total 735 100% ---

According to MLB.com, the most common form of the triple play in league history starts at third base, goes to the second baseman and then around the horn to the first baseman – scored 5-4-3 in baseball shorthand. Such a feat has occurred 105 times in MLB history, representing 14.29% of the league’s total.

The next most common triple play is 6-4-3 (from shortstop to second baseman to first baseman), which has happened 58 times. That is 7.89% of the MLB’s total. To show how frequent that is among triple plays, that implied percentage on a wager at US sports betting apps would translate to about +1160 odds.

Throw in the 44 triple plays of the 4-6-3 variety (second baseman to shortstop to first baseman) and 28 more scored 6-6-3 (shortstop makes two outs then throws to the first baseman) and you have a good snapshot of the most frequent triple play iterations in league history.

Some others that happen less frequently are scored 4-4-3 (the second baseman makes two outs then throws to first), 4-3-6 (second baseman to first baseman to shortstop) and 1-6-3 (pitcher to shortstop to first baseman). Those have happened 22, 18 and 16 times, respectively. All other combinations have accounted for 403 triple plays, or 54.8%.

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How Many Unassisted Triple Plays In MLB History?

Total Unassisted Triple Plays Most Recent Most Recent Occurrence
15 Phillies 2B Eric Bruntlett Aug. 23, 2009 (Phillies-Mets)

*According to MLB.com as of March 27, 2024

Of the 735 triple plays in league history, 15 (or 2.04%) have been unassisted. The most recent MLB unassisted triple play happened during a Philadelphia Phillies-New York Mets contest on Aug. 23, 2009. Phillies second baseman Eric Bruntlett’s feat on that day is still unmatched nearly 15 years later (and his ninth-inning play ended the game, giving Philadelphia a 9-7 victory). The Phils won the National League pennant that season; BetMGM Sportsbook gives them +800 odds to do so again in 2024.

Such a feat is one of the ultimate unicorns in professional baseball. By comparison, the chances of seeing a no-hitter in an MLB game are 0.14%, based on the 318 times that has happened in MLB history. Just one of those 15 unassisted triple plays came in a postseason game, by Cleveland second baseman Bill Wambsganss in Game 5 of the 1920 World Series.

Teams With Most Triple Plays In MLB Since 2000

Team No. of Triple Plays Most Recent
Chicago White Sox 7 May 22, 2019
Minnesota Twins 7 July 22, 2022
New York Yankees 6 June 20, 2021
Philadelphia Phillies 5 July 27, 2017
Milwaukee Brewers 5 Sept. 23, 2016

*According to Retrosheet as of March 27, 2024 from the 2000 to 2023 seasons

Leaguewide, the leaders when it comes to turning triple plays are two American League Central squads. The Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins have both pulled off the feat seven times over the past 23 years. The most recent triple play for the Southsiders was May 22, 2019, while the Twins last did it on July 22, 2022. Caesars Sportsbook has joined others oddsmakers in installing the Twins as the division favorite for 2024, with +114 odds as of March 28.

The New York Yankees (six times), Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers (five times each) round out the top five in MLB when it comes to the most triple plays in the 2000s. The Yankees did it most recently of the three, on June 20, 2021. The Phillies (July 27, 2017) and Brewers (Sept. 23, 2016) have gone a bit longer without such a play.

USBettingReport.com brings you reviews of sportsbooks and information on odds – for instance, DraftKings Sportsbook has the Los Angeles Dodgers as World Series favorites with +350 odds, followed by the Atlanta Braves at +450 and the Houston Astros at +700.

USA Today photo by Gary A. Vasquez

MLB Triple Plays Q&A

Author

Christopher Boan is a lead writer at USBettingReport.com specializing in covering sports betting issues. He has covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.