The night Asdrubal Cabrera entered rarefied air and turned an unassisted triple play
Before the night of May 12, 2008, there hadn't been an unassisted triple play in the American League since the A's Randy Velarde in 2000. There'd only been six since 1927 and 13 in the history of Major League Baseball. It was a rare feat -- rare like Mr. Clean with hair, rare like truth with no dare.
There had been more perfect games, six-hit games, cycles and four-home run games in that span. But in the top of the fifth inning of an Indians-Blue Jays game, Asdrubal Cabrera, who celebrates his 32nd birthday today, etched himself into the record books:
Aided by Toronto's hit-and-run attempt, Cabrera was able to snag Lyle Overbay's liner up the middle, step on second and tag Marco Scutaro to complete the trifecta. The second baseman was pretty nonchalant about it postgame, telling MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince that he knew he had a chance at a triple play the way the ball was hit. Overbay was a bit more irreverant:
"Hey, I'm just trying to speed up the game," Overbay said. "It's a bad hit-and-run. It's not very smart hitting a line drive. That's not going to work out very good. But, you know, I'll go down in history. No one can take that away from me."
The Phillies' Eric Bruntlett copied Cabrera's feat the following season, but none have been turned since. Funny enough, Neal Ball, also a Cleveland infielder, was the first to ever record an unassisted triple play in 1909. Writers covering the game said pitcher Cy Young and the entire crowd were stunned into silence, unsure of what just took place. Ball ran back to the dugout and proceeded to hit an inside-the-park homer the next inning.