VIDEO: Andy Van Slyke Records Rare Unassisted Double Play

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When’s the last time you saw an outfielder catch the baseball and tag a runner on the same play? Probably no one is alive who saw it happen in a Major League Game. That’s because the last time it occurred was before the Great Depression.

But, there have been outfielders who turned an unassisted double play since, though it’s extremely rare.

Hall of Famer Tris Speaker, one of the greatest center fielders in baseball history, holds the record for most double plays by an outfielder, and also the most unassisted DPs (with six in his Hall of Fame career). Speaker played famously shallow, which enabled him to catch short flyballs and run in to tag or double off runners.

In 1992, Andy Van Slyke “pulled a Speaker” when he turned an unassisted double play from his position in center field. It was the first unassisted DP by an outfielder in 18 years.

Ironically, a Pirate is the only National League outfielder to ever record two unassisted double plays in the same season: in 1931, Pittsburgh’s Adam Comorosky turned an unassisted double play on May 31, 1931, and again on June 13, 1931.

Houston outfielder Jake Marisnick, also a center fielder, is the last player to record an unassisted double play from the outfield in a major league game, doing so in 2015.

Pirates Outfielder Andy Van Slyke: Unassisted Double Play, July 7, 1992

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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is the author of three books about baseball, including Ty Cobb: A Biography. He previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and Major League Baseball Advanced Media. He lives in Michigan where he writes, runs, and enjoys a good orange soda now and again.
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