After stepping on second base, Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Max Moroff throws to first base to complete a double play as Baltimore Orioles baserunner Seth Smith slides into the base
After stepping on second base, Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Max Moroff throws to first base to complete a double play as Baltimore Orioles baserunner Seth Smith slides into the base

In baseball and softball, a double play (denoted as DP in baseball statistics) is the act of making two outs during the same continuous play. Double plays can occur any time there is at least one baserunner and fewer than two outs.

In Major League Baseball (MLB), the double play is defined in the Official Rules in the Definitions of Terms, and for the official scorer in Rule 9.11.[1] During the 2016 Major League Baseball season, teams completed an average 145 double plays per 162 games played during the regular season.[2]

Examples

The simplest scenario for a double play is a runner on first base with less than two outs. In that context, five example double plays are:

Double plays can occur in many ways in addition to these examples, and can involve many combinations of fielders. A double play can include an out resulting from a rare event, such as interference or an appeal play.

Recordkeeping

Per standard baseball positions, the examples given above are recorded, respectively, as:

  • 4-6-3 (second baseman to shortstop to first baseman) or 6-4-3 (shortstop to second baseman to first baseman). Other combinations start with 1 (pitcher), 3 (first baseman), or (5 third baseman), followed by 6-3 or 4-3 depending on which middle infielder is covering second base on the play.
  • 3-6 (first baseman to shortstop)
  • 3 (first baseman), unassisted
  • 9-6 (right fielder to shortstop)
  • K (strike out), 2-6 CS (caught stealing, catcher to shortstop) or 2-4 CS (caught stealing, catcher to second baseman)

Double plays that are initiated by a batter hitting a ground ball are recorded in baseball statistics as GIDP (grounded into double play). This statistic has been tracked since 1933 in the National League and since 1939 in the American League.[3] This statistic does not include line-outs into double plays, for which there is no official statistic for a batter.

Strategy

The double play is a coup for the fielding team and debilitating to the batting team. The fielding team can select pitches to induce a double play — such as a sinker, which is more likely to be hit as a ground ball — and can position fielders to make a ground ball more likely to be turned into a double play. The batting team may take action — such as a hit and run play — to reduce the chance of grounding into a force double play.

Slang

In baseball slang, making a double play is referred to as "turning two" or a "twin killing" (a play on "twin billing", a moviehouse offering two features on the same ticket). Double plays are also known as "the pitcher's best friend" because they disrupt offense more than any other play, except for the rare triple play. A force double play made on a ground ball hit to the third baseman, who throws to the second baseman, who then throws to the first baseman, is referred to as an "around the horn" double play.

The ability to "make the pivot" on a force double play – receiving a throw from the third base side, then quickly turning and throwing to first base – is a key skill for a second baseman.

Tinker to Evers to Chance

The most famous double play trio—although they never set any records—were Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers and Frank Chance, who were the shortstop, second baseman and first baseman, respectively, for the Chicago Cubs between 1902 and 1912.[4] Their double play against the New York Giants in a 1910 game inspired Giants fan Franklin Pierce Adams to write the short poem Baseball's Sad Lexicon, otherwise known as Tinker to Evers to Chance, which immortalized the trio.[5] All three players were part of the Cubs team that won the National League pennant in 1906, 1907, 1908, and 1910, and the World Series in 1907 and 1908, turning 491 double plays on the way.[6] They were elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946.[5]

Odd and notable double plays

  • During the April 12, 2008, game between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, in the top of the 7th inning the Boston infield was shifted right for New York left-handed power hitter Jason Giambi, with a baserunner on first. Giambi grounded to second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who threw to third baseman Kevin Youkilis, covering second due to the shift. Youkilis tagged second, then threw to first baseman Sean Casey to complete the rare 4-5-3 double play.[18]
  • The Chicago Cubs turned a 7-2-3 double play against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 2, 2014. Tied 3–3 in the bottom of the 13th inning, the Pirates loaded the bases with no outs. The Cubs then defensively placed left fielder Junior Lake in the infield, near the third base line. Batter Clint Barmes hit a ground ball to Lake, who threw home for one out, and the catcher then threw to first base for the second out.[19][20]

All-time double play leaders by position

Mickey Vernon was part of 2044 double plays in his 20-year career.
Mickey Vernon was part of 2044 double plays in his 20-year career.

Source: [22]

Single season

1B - Ferris Fain: 194 (Philadelphia Athletics, 1949)
2B - Bill Mazeroski: 161 (Pittsburgh Pirates, 1966)
SS - Rick Burleson: 147 (Boston Red Sox, 1980)
3B - Graig Nettles: 54 (Cleveland Indians 1971)
LF - Bibb Falk: 9 (Chicago White Sox, 1927) & Alfonso Soriano: 9 (Washington Nationals, 2006)
CF - Happy Felsch: 14 (Chicago White Sox, 1919)
RF - Mel Ott: 12 (New York Giants, 1929) & Chief Wilson: 12 (St. Louis Cardinals, 1914)
C - Steve O'Neill: 36 (Cleveland Indians, 1916)

Career

1B - Mickey Vernon: 2044 (20 seasons)
2B - Bill Mazeroski: 1706 (17 seasons)
SS - Omar Vizquel: 1734 (24 seasons)
3B - Brooks Robinson: 618 (23 seasons)
LF - Bobby Veach: 42 (14 seasons)
CF - Tris Speaker: 107 (22 seasons)
RF - Harry Hooper: 65 (17 seasons)
C - Ray Schalk: 222 (18 seasons)

All-time GIDP leaders

Single season

Jim Rice: 36 (Boston Red Sox, 1984)[23]

Career

Albert Pujols: 412 (through September 21, 2021)[24]

Team

The team record for a single game is seven GIDPs. It was set by the San Francisco Giants, who grounded into seven double plays on May 4, 1969, in a 3–1 loss to the Houston Astros. The Pittsburgh Pirates suffered seven double plays (only six GIDPs) on August 17, 2018, in a 1–0 loss to the Chicago Cubs.[25][26] The 1990 Boston Red Sox grounded into 174 double plays to set the single season team record.[27]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "Official Rules". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 13 Aug 2018.
  2. ^ "2016 Major League Baseball Team Statistics and Standings". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 22 Oct 2016.
  3. ^ "Yearly League Leaders & Records for Double Plays Grounded Into". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 22 Oct 2016.
  4. ^ Singer, Tom. "Power of poem immortalizes Cubs trio". MLB.com. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  5. ^ a b Hageman, William (July 5, 2010). "Remembering 'Tinker to Evers to Chance'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  6. ^ Schell, Michael J (2013). Baseball's All-Time Best Hitters: How Statistics Can Level the Playing Field. Princeton University Press. p. 181. ISBN 978-1400850631. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  7. ^ Hoch, Bryan (24 Jul 2016). "Yankees stun Giants with rare DP combo". MLB.com. Retrieved 20 Oct 2016.
  8. ^ "San Francisco Giants at New York Yankees Play by Play and Boxscore". Baseball Reference. 24 Jul 2016. Retrieved 20 Oct 2016.
  9. ^ "Fisk gets two outs at home plate". YouTube. 17 Feb 2015. Retrieved 20 Oct 2016.
  10. ^ "Chicago White Sox at New York Yankees Play by Play and Boxscore". Baseball Reference. 2 Aug 1985. Retrieved 20 Oct 2016.
  11. ^ "2006 NLDS Gm1: Lo Duca tags out two at the plate". YouTube. 8 Nov 2014. Retrieved 20 Oct 2016.
  12. ^ "Los Angeles Dodges at New York Mets Play by Play and Boxscore". Baseball Reference. 4 Oct 2006. Retrieved 20 Oct 2016.
  13. ^ "Buck Martinez". YouTube. 10 May 2010.
  14. ^ Hughson, Callum (12 May 2010). "Epic Games in Blue Jays History: Buck Martinez Completes a Double Play on a Broken Leg". Mop-Up Duty.
  15. ^ Schoenfield, David (5 Sep 2012). "The greatest play ever made". ESPN.
  16. ^ Machir, Troy (2014-07-31). "Pirates' baserunning error leads to double play on walk". Sporting News. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  17. ^ Garro, Adrian (25 June 2019). "Braves turn double play without ball in play". MLB.com Cut4. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  18. ^ "New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox Play by Play and Boxscore". Baseball Reference. 12 Apr 2008. Retrieved 20 Oct 2016.
  19. ^ "Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates Play by Play and Boxscore". Baseball Reference. 2 Apr 2014. Retrieved 20 Oct 2016.
  20. ^ "CHC@PIT: Lake turns the 7-2-3 double play". YouTube. 4 Apr 2014. Retrieved 20 Oct 2016.
  21. ^ "Rockies turn wacky DP in the 8th - August 13, 2019 - Colorado Rockies". MLB. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  22. ^ "Overall Baseball Leaders & Baseball Records". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 22 Oct 2016.
  23. ^ "Single-Season Leaders & Records for Double Plays Grounded Into". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 22 Oct 2016.
  24. ^ "Career Leaders & Records for Double Plays Grounded Into". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  25. ^ "Team Batting Game Finder: From 1908 to 2018, (requiring GIDP>=6), sorted by greatest GIDP". Baseball Reference. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  26. ^ Mark Gonzales (August 17, 2018). "Kyle Schwarber homers, Cubs turn 7 double plays in 1-0 win over Pirates". Chicago Tribune.
  27. ^ "Team Batting Season Finder: For Single Seasons, from 1871 to 2018, Double Plays Grounded Into (s. 1939)>=165, Standard statistics, Sorted by greatest Year". Baseball Reference. Retrieved July 7, 2018.

Further reading