Triple play facts on the 20th anniversary of the day the O’s turned one against the Yankees
Twenty years ago today, on June 15, 1989, the “Why Not?” Orioles defeated the Yankees 3-2 in 10 innings before 30,284 fans at Memorial Stadium.
Cal hit his fifth homer, Randy “Moose” Milligan went 3-for-4 with one of his 16 career stolen bases, and reliever Mark Thurmond picked up the win after 7.1 quality innings from Jeff Ballard. Even Rene Gonzalez got in on the action with the game-winning RBI single that plated Mickey Tettleton in the 10th. However, the big story of the day was the Orioles’ triple-play defense.
Desperately in need of an out in the game’s first inning, Ballard did three better.
With one run across, two runners on, and the game’s first out yet recorded, the Yankees’ Steve Balboni hit a line drive to shortstop that Cal fielded to initiate the triple play. Cal’s throw to Billy Ripken at second got Steve Sax for out number two, and Billy’s throw to Milligan at first got Don Mattingly for the inning’s third and final out.
The Orioles had the American League’s only triple play that season. Meanwhile, four triple plays were recorded in the National League in 1989.
Since 1954, the Orioles have recorded 29 triple plays. The team’s most recent effort came on Sept. 1, 2000, against the Indians.
The most triple plays in a season for the Orioles was three – all in August – in 1992 (Aug. 7 against the Indians; Aug. 25 against the Angels; and Aug. 30 against the Mariners).
The modern Orioles have recorded two triple plays during five different seasons (1954; 1955; 1967; 1973; and 1979). The O’s also had a streak of seven consecutive seasons with a triple play from 1963 through 1969.
Sources: Baseball Reference, SABR Records Committee