Tim Kurkjian’s Baseball Fix – The hard-to-believe history of the triple

You love baseball. Tim Kurkjian loves baseball. So while we await its return, every day we’ll provide you with a story or two tied to this date in baseball history.

ON THIS DATE IN 2011, The Blue Jays hit three consecutive triples.

The full “On this date …” archive

Eric Thames, Rajai Davis and Jayson Nix hit consecutive triples in the fifth inning in a 13-9 loss to the Indians. Toronto was the first team to do that since the 1981 Expos. Earlier that season, the Cubs did it. So today, we will celebrate one of our favorites — the triple.

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  • Sam Crawford had the most career triples (312). Johnny Estrada had the most career at-bats (2,079) without one.

  • Derek Jeter had the most at-bats in a season (683 in 2012) without a triple.

  • Craig Biggio (1999) had the most doubles (56) in a season without a triple.

  • In 1943, Stan Musial had 20 triples and 18 strikeouts.

  • In history, a player has come a triple short of the cycle 14,500 times.

  • Walter Johnson hit 41 triples, 18 more than any other pitcher. Johnson has one more triple than Bobby Abreu and Jean Segura, and as many as Kevin Kiermaier and Ian Kinsler.

  • Jim Golden (1962) is the last pitcher to hit two triples in one game.

  • The modern record (since 1900) for triples in a game is three, last done by Yasiel Puig (2014).

  • Five players in their 40s have hit a triple for the Mets: Willie Mays, Moises Alou, Orlando Hernandez, Gary Sheffield and Frank Tanana. Hernandez and Tanana were pitchers.

  • Mike Piazza hit a triple for each of the five teams for which he played.

  • Chief Wilson (1912) holds the record for most triples in a season with 36, 10 more than anyone else and 15 more than he ever hit in any other season.

  • Babe Ruth hit 136 triples. Mark McGwire hit six. Now that Curtis Granderson has retired, the active leader in triples is Dexter Fowler with 82.

  • In 2019, the Indians and Marlins set major league records for the deepest a team has ever gone into a season without hitting a triple. The Indians went 54 games, the Marlins 52.

  • The player I most liked to watch run out a triple was former Royal Willie Wilson. He was so fast, so long, so majestic. When he cut the bag at second, on turf, it was breathtaking.

  • Pitcher Chris Young (6-foot-10) is the tallest player to hit a triple.

“I hit a low line drive to right field, my specialty,” Young said. “Jeremy Hermida dove for the ball. It went under his glove and went to the wall. I knew there was no chance of an inside-the-park home run. Whether I got a double or a triple was insignificant to me. But our third-base coach, Glenn Hoffman, kept waving me. And I’m thinking, ‘Oh my, I’m going to get a stand-up triple.’ Then he gets on his knees and I’m thinking, ‘Oh my, I’m going to have to slide!’ I made the worst slide in the history of baseball. Miguel Cabrera was the third baseman; the look on his face when he saw I was going to slide was priceless. It was a comedy of errors.”

Other baseball notes for June 1

  • In 1910, Cardinals leadoff man Miller Huggins had six plate appearances in a 10-5 victory; he walked four times, had a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly. His line was 0-1-0-2.

  • In 2012, Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in the history of the Mets. It came in their 8,020th game. There had been 131 no-hitters thrown since the Mets franchise began in 1962.

  • In 1974, Nolan Ryan pitched his fourth no-hitter, 1-0 over the Orioles, to tie Sandy Koufax for the most in history. It was Ryan’s 100th career win.

  • In 1977, Brad Wilkerson was born. He was all-state in high school in Kentucky in four sports: baseball, basketball, soccer and football (he was the punter/place-kicker). And 10 years ago, at least, he was a 5-handicap in golf. “I’m no John Smoltz,” he said, “but I’m OK.”

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