Although double plays are commonplace during baseball games, many are far from common.
Just look at what happened in Oakland this past Sunday, when fans were treated to one of the most incredible defensive sequences in recent memory.
It’s a play that needs to be seen to be believed, and it leads the list of baseball’s craziest double plays below. A pitcher's best friend, indeed.
Ramon Laureano and Nick Hundley, A’s
April 21, 2019, vs. Blue Jays
Since he debuted in the Majors last season, Laureano has quickly made a name for himself on the defensive end. That name? "Laser Ramon," stemming from his collection of highlight-reel throws. But the A’s center fielder can also get it done with the glove, as he showed when he tracked Teoscar Hernandez’s towering fly ball to left-center field, leaped and reached over the wall to pull back a surefire home run. Laureano was not about to let an opportunity to showcase his arm strength pass him by, however, as he unleashed a throw from just in front of the warning track that sailed over first base on the fly, where it was corralled by Hundley. The catcher quickly threw the ball from foul territory to second base, and Jurickson Profar tagged Justin Smoak to complete the unbelievable twin killing.
Final score: Blue Jays 5, A's 4
July 2, 2018, at Brewers
A routine grounder to second base turned into quite the adventure in Milwaukee last season, and Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar was at the center of the madness. Instead of tagging Aguilar, the lead runner, Brian Dozier went to first base to retire Travis Shaw. Joe Mauer’s throw to second base then bounced off Aguilar and ricocheted into left field, where it was mishandled by Eddie Rosario. Aguilar was waved home as Rosario retrieved the ball, but the slugger never made it, getting thrown out at the plate on a strong through by Minnesota's left fielder.
Final score: Brewers 6, Twins 5
Kendall Graveman, A’s
April 27, 2017, at Angels
An unassisted double play by the pitcher? Yep. Graveman did it all on this play, from throwing the pitch to fielding the ball to tagging out not one, but two baserunners. Protecting a 2-1 lead with two on and nobody out in the fifth, the right-hander snagged a comebacker off the bat of Juan Graterol and saw Ben Revere sprinting to the plate. Graveman chased him back up the third-base line and applied the tag, then hopped over Revere to tag a sliding Cliff Pennington on the other side of the bag.
Final score: Angels 2, A's 1
Ronnie Belliard, Dodgers
May 2, 2010, vs. Pirates
Belliard’s effort to record the first out was certainly impressive, as he ranged from third base into shallow left field and made a terrific over-the-shoulder catch on Bobby Crosby’s popup. But the follow up may have been even more difficult. With his momentum carrying him away from the infield, Belliard came to a stop, turned and fired a majestic rainbow to first base to nab Andy LaRoche. He received some help from James Loney, who dove for the throw without taking his foot off the base.
Final score: Dodgers 9, Pirates 3
Endy Chavez, Mets
2006 NLCS Game 7 vs. Cardinals
You’ve probably seen this catch many times before, as it’s easily one of the greatest home run robberies in history. But it’s easy to forget that the play didn’t end with Chavez’s jaw-dropping snow-cone grab to take a tie-breaking homer away from Scott Rolen in the sixth inning. Immediately after getting his feet back on the ground, Chavez fired a strike to second baseman Jose Valentin, who turned and threw the ball to first baseman Carlos Delgado to double up Jim Edmonds.
Final score: Cardinals 3, Mets 1
Paul Lo Duca, Mets
2006 NLDS Game 1 vs. Dodgers
Call this the baseball equivalent of getting two for the price of one, as Lo Duca barely had to move to record two outs in the top of the second inning during Game 1 of the National League Division Series at Shea Stadium. The Dodgers appeared to be in business when Russell Martin hit a fly ball off the base of the right-field wall with two men on base and nobody out, but the Mets’ relay arrived in plenty of time to nab Jeff Kent at home plate. After tagging Kent, Lo Duca alertly saw J.D. Drew racing home and applied the tag for the second out of the frame seconds later. The double play was a harbinger of things to come for the series, which was swept by New York.
Final score: Mets 6, Dodgers 5
Ozzie Smith, Cardinals
Aug. 29, 1992, vs. Dodgers
Even at age 37, the “Wizard of Oz” still had plenty of magic left in his bag of tricks, including this awe-inspiring levitation act. Although Mike Scioscia’s two-hopper to second baseman Luis Alicea was tailor-made for a double play, Lenny Harris was running on the pitch and had nearly reached second by the time Alicea made his flip. To avoid a collision after getting the force, Smith jumped over a sliding Harris and remained airborne long enough to complete his throw to first base.
Final score: Cardinals 3, Dodgers 2
Carlton Fisk, White Sox
Aug. 2, 1985, at Yankees
More than 20 years before Lo Duca’s double play at the plate, Fisk completed a similar two-fer, also in New York. When Rickey Henderson lifted a fly ball to left-center field in the seventh inning, lead runner Bobby Meacham waited between second and third for the ball to drop before taking off for home. By that point, Dale Berra was on his heels, and both men came around third base almost simultaneously, much to the chagrin of third-base coach Gene Michael. They were met at the plate by Fisk, who tagged Meacham and Berra in succession to spoil New York’s rally and keep the game tied at 3-3.
Final score: White Sox 6, Yankees 5
Thomas Harrigan is a reporter for MLB.com.