Tigers On Deck: May 31, 1927 -- Johnny Neun makes unassisted triple play

Old baseball diamond
Old baseball diamond (Pixlr)

DETROIT – Today in 1927, Detroit Tigers first baseman Johnny Neun executed the rare unassisted triple play, meaning he alone fielded three outs in one play, against the Cleveland Indians at Navin Field.

But how? With runners on first and second, Neun caught a line drive, tagged the runner at first and ran to beat the 2nd base runner back to 2nd base for the third out. That was despite calls from his own teammates to just throw the ball to 2nd. Neun made history instead.

The unassisted triple play is more rare than a pitcher’s perfect game, having occurred only 15 times in MLB history.

If this interests you today, I suggest checking out this old 1986 Sports Illustrated piece about Neun and another player who managed his own unassisted triple just a day before Neun’s.

The Tigers ended up beating the Indians, 1-0, and Neun had one of the team’s 6 hits. These old box scores are something to review!



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