The Triple Steal

By Michael LeCompte

Baseball is a beautiful game, at once both simple and intricate. It is quite simply about throwing, hitting, and catching a ball. However, the scenarios stemming from these three basic elements of play are seemingly infinite.

Each baseball game still offers fans the possibility of seeing something they have never witnessed on the diamond before and the pace of the game lends itself to thinking about whether or not a certain play or situation has ever arisen before.

Although its history stretches back well over a hundred years some baseball feats remain rare. The triple play, perfect game, hitting for the cycle, and inside the park home run, for instance. What about the plays you have never heard of, let alone seen, though? Are they really even possible?

What about the triple steal?

The triple steal does in fact exist, but for one to occur the bases obviously must be loaded and all three runners (first, second, and third), must be officially credited with a stolen base.

According to baseball rules stolen bases are credited whenever “a runner advances one base unaided by a base hit, a putout, a force out, a fielder’s choice, a passed ball, a wild pitch, or a balk.”

In other words, everything must go perfectly for the three baserunners for the triple steal to occur.

The hardest part of the triple steal is the swiping of home plate by the lead runner. Part of what makes the triple steal so rare is that stealing home is so seldom attempted in today’s game.

In a bygone era Ty Cobb stole home 53 times in his career (6 times as part of a triple steal).

The latest triple steal in Major League Baseball occurred in 2008 when Cleveland pulled it off against the Chicago White Sox.

The triple steal, a rare, but not impossible feat of base running prowess and gutsy managing. One of the many beautifully intricate possibilities of any given baseball game that keep us coming out to the ball park.

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