Randy Velarde's unassisted triple play was some Grade-A baseball weirdness
There's something a little odd about the unassisted triple play. Statistically speaking, it might be the most remarkable event in baseball -- even rarer than a perfect game, the confluence of so many different variables that it's a wonder it's ever happened at all. Seeing one should be like seeing a shooting star.
And yet, when this baseball unicorn actually does appear, the moment has a tendency to be ... anti-climactic. Since there's only one defender involved, everything unfolds quickly, and then oh, wait, what just happened? So the inning is over now? It's such a dramatic reversal that no one is quite sure how to react:
But even those reactions have nothing on Randy Velarde, who became just the 11th player to ever turn an unassisted triple play on May 29, 2000 -- and then just kind of stood there:
The man has just become a member of one of baseball's most exclusive fraternities, and he feels compelled to look at the umpire as though his mom had just caught him with his hand in the cookie jar.
But of course, that's hardly the only reason why this particular moment is of interest to baseball historians. It also checks nearly every box on the Late 20th-Century Baseball bingo card, including but not limited to:
- It involves at least one (1) member of the Core Four -- Jorge Posada, who was on first base when Shane Spencer hit the line drive to Velarde
- It involves Shane Spencer
- From Velarde's flip-up shades and thick eyeblack to A's starter Omar Olivares' sock/pant choices, it's about a "Chipper Jones rookie card" on the '90s baseball fashion scale: