History of Unassisted Double Plays

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On August 5, 2016 against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays, Eric Hosmer had an unassisted double play in the top of the fourth inning when Darwin Barney hit a line drive to first base. Hosmer caught the ball, then stepped on first base to get Melvin Upton, Jr. out on the force. It was the 182nd unassisted double play in franchise history. It also improved Hosmer’s club record to 13 career unassisted double plays.

Hosmer broke the club record on July 5, 2016 against the Blue Jays in Toronto. The previous record was held by Wally Joyner, who had 11. Toronto’s Josh Thole hit a line drive that was caught by Hosmer. He then stepped on first base to get Devon Travis out on the force out to record the record-breaking unassisted double play.

Here are some team facts about unassisted double plays in Kansas City history:

–There have been 184 unassisted double plays in franchise history as of September 3, 2017. Of those, 84 unassisted double plays were during away games and 100 during home games.

Eric Hosmer is the Royals record holder with 14 unassisted double plays as of September 3, 2017. All of them have been at first base.

Joy Foy had the first unassisted double play in Royals history on May 15, 1969. The Kansas City Royals were hosting the Cleveland Indians. In the top of the 7th inning, the Royals were ahead 4-1 with Mike Hedlund pitching. Cleveland left fielder Lee Maye singled into center field to lead off the inning. Ray Fosse had a hit to third base, forcing Maye out at second base. Then, Larry Brown hit a singled to second base. With two men on, third baseman Max Alvis singled to center field, scoring Fosse and moving Brown to third base. Then, Hedlund walked Richie Scheinblum, loading the bases with one out. Hedlund was pulled from the game and replaced by relief pitcher Moe Drabowsky. Cleveland second baseman Zoilo Versalles hit a line drive to Joe Foy at third base while Brown was running toward home plate from third base. Foy then stepped on the third base bag to record the unassisted double play ending the seventh inning. It was the first in franchise history. The Royals won the game 5-2.

Jackie Hernandez has the first unassisted double play in an away game in Royals history on May 29, 1970. It was the second all-time unassisted double play in franchise history. The Royals were playing the Senators in Washington, DC. In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Royals were down 1-0 to the Senators with Jim Rooker pitching. Washington catcher Paul Casanova doubled into left field to lead off the inning. Rooker then struck out second baseman Tim Cullen to record the first out. Unfortunately, Rooker then walked the Cleveland pitcher, Joe Coleman. With men on first and second bases, shortstop Ed Brinkman came up to bat. Brinkman hit a line drive to Royals shortstop Jackie Hernandez when Casanova was running to third base. Hernandez caught the ball then ran to second base to get the force out of Casanova to end the inning. The Royals lost the game 5-4 to the Senators, but Hernandez’s unassisted double play would be the first in franchise history during an away game.

–There have been only two unassisted double plays in franchise history that occurred in extra innings. The first was on May 25, 1986 at home against the Chicago White Sox in the 14th inning. Jamie Quirk, who had been playing catcher the entire game, was moved to first base while Jim Sundberg became the new catcher in the 14th inning. Sundberg had pinch hit for Buddy Biancalana. Wayne Tolleson had a lead-off hit to left field and was on first base. Then, Harold Baines hit a pop up to first base. Quirk caught the ball, then stepped on first to earn the unassisted double play. The second extra inning unassisted double play occurred on May 8, 1996 against the Angels in California. In the bottom of the 11th inning, with Jeff Montgomery pitching, Mike Aldrete hit a lead-off single to left field and was then replaced by pinch runner Rex Hudler. Then, Jim Edmonds ground out to first baseman Jose Offerman, advancing Hudler to second base. Montgomery then intentionally walked Chili Davis. J. T. Snow then hit an infield single to load the bases. Then Garret Anderson hit a line drive to Offerman at first base. He caught the ball, then stepped on first base to record the unassisted double play.

— There have been 122 unassisted double plays by first basemen, more than any other position player. They are: Eric Hosmer (13), Wally Joyner (11), John Mayberry (10), Steve Balboni (8), Pete LaCock (7), Mike Sweeney (7), Willie Aikens (6), George Brett (6), Billy Butler (6), Ross Gload (4), Jeff King (4), Bob Oliver (4), Jose Offerman (4), Todd Benzinger (3) Dave McCarty (3), Luis de los Santos (2), Chuck Harrison (2), Ken Harvey (2), Kila Ka’aihue (2), Doug Mientkiewicz (2), Ken Phelps (2), John Wathan (2), Bill Buckner (1), Gary Gaetti (1), Tony Graffanino (1), Ken Hamlin (1), Gail Hopkins (1), Hal Morris (1), Rey Palacios (1), Craig Paquette (1), Calvin Pickering (1), Jamie Quirk (1), Steve Scarsone (1), Kevin Seitzer (1), Matt Stairs (1)

— There have been 11 unassisted double plays by second basemen. They are: Frank White (4), Cookie Rojas (2), Mike Aviles (1), Buddy Biancalana (1), Omar Infante (1), Keith Miller (1), Bill Pecota (1). Frank White has the only post-season unassisted double play during the 10th inning of Game 3 of the1980 World Series.

–There have been six unassisted double plays by third basemen. They are: Alex Gordon (2), Joe Randa (2), George Brett (1), Joe Foy (1)

–There have been 33 unassisted double plays by shortstops. They are: Angel Berroa (7), Freddie Patek (7), Alcides Escobar (3), Kurt Stillwell (3), U L Washington (2), Yuniesky Betancourt (1), Buddy Biancalana (1), Onix Concepcion (1), Greg Gagne (1), Jackie Hernandez (1), Luis Hernandez (1), David Howard (1), Elliot Johnson (1), Felix Martinez (1), Neifi Perez (1), Rey Sanchez (1)

Four catchers have been credited with unassisted double plays. They are Don Slaught, John Wathan, John Buck, and Jason Kendall. Buck did it four times.

–Two center fielders have had unassisted double plays in Royals history. The first was on July 25, 1990 in the fifth inning against the Blue Jays in Toronto. With Andy McGaffigan pitching for the Royals and Toronto’s Fred McGriff on second base, Manuel Lee hit a line drive into center field and it was caught by Willie Wilson. He then kept running and tagged second base to get McGriff out for the unassisted double play. The second time it occurred was on August 23, 1992 in the eighth inning against the White Sox in Chicago. Frank Thomas was on second base with one out when George Bell hit a shallow fly ball into center field. Brian McRae caught the ball, then was able to run into second base to get the force out of Thomas to earn the unassisted double play.

–No right fielder or left field has yet been able to produce an unassisted double play.

–Only one pitcher in franchise history had an unassisted double play. Mark Redman was pitching against the White Sox in Chicago during the fifth inning. Paul Ozuna had just hit a two-RBI triple and was on third base with one out. Tadahito Iguchi then hit a popup bunt toward third base. Redman was able to run, catch the ball for the out and then run to third base to get the force out of Ozuna. It is the only time in franchise history that a pitcher had been credited with an unassisted double play.

–On June 19, 2011, Billy Butler became the only player in Royals history to record two unassisted double plays in one game while playing the Cardinals in St. Louis. The first came in the seventh inning when Butler caught a line drive by first baseman Lance Berkman to record the first out and then stepping on first base to record the force out of Colby Rasmus to complete the unassisted double play. In the eighth inning, Yadier Molina hit a similar line drive to Butler to record the first out followed by the force out at first base of Matt Holliday.

Wally Joyner holds the franchise record with the most unassisted double plays in a single season with six. In 1993, the Kansas City Royals had a total of six unassisted double plays turned in one season. All of them were done by Joyner. The first one came on April 14 in the seventh inning against the Yankees in New York. The second one came on April 25 against the visiting Baltimore Orioles in the seventh inning. Joyner’s next unassisted double play occurred on June 20 in the third inning in Oakland. Two days later on June 22, Joyner did it again in the ninth inning against the visiting California Angels. Joyners next double play was on July 20 in the seventh inning against the Orioles in Baltimore. His final unassisted double play occurred on August 12 in the fifth inning in Chicago against the White Sox.

–Only three players in franchise history have had unassisted double plays at two different positions. They are Buddy Biancalana (as shortstop and second baseman), George Brett (as third baseman and first baseman), and John Wathan (as catcher and first baseman).

–The record for the most unassisted double plays by the team in a single season is eight, set in 2004. Mike Sweeney had three, Angel Berroa had two, and Ken Harvey, Calvin Pickering and John Buck each had one.

–There have been nine unassisted double plays during doubleheaders.

–There has never been an unassisted triple play in Royals history.

Tavish Whiting is an American Government teacher in Lee's Summit, MO.

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Author: Tavish Whiting

I am an American Government teacher at Lee's Summit North High School

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