These classic infield throws will astonish you

May 12th, 2019

When it comes to classic infield plays, great glove work is often only part of the equation.

Case in point: The list below, which showcases some of the greatest infield throws in recent big league memory.

The names behind these jaw-dropping plays are easily recognizable -- a Hall of Fame third baseman and two players who are following in his footsteps with their defensive prowess at the hot corner, plus a shortstop who is likely to make the Hall on his first ballot in 2020.

Manny Machado, Orioles
July 7, 2013, at Yankees

Machado was in his first full season and not yet established as one of the top defensive stars in the game, but he showed what he was capable of with this play at Yankee Stadium on a grounder down the third-base line.

Although he bobbled the ball initially and was well into foul territory by the time he gathered it, Machado still got Luis Cruz at first base by making an unbelievable sidearm throw with his momentum carrying him toward the stands.

Brooks Robinson, Orioles
1970 World Series Game 1 at Reds

Decades before Machado took over, it was Robinson who owned the hot corner in Baltimore, winning 16 consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1960-75. The Orioles reached the World Series four times during that span, and in Game 1 of the 1970 Fall Classic, Robinson made one of the signature defensive plays of his career to take an extra-base hit away from Lee May.

Leading off the bottom of the sixth inning with the game tied at 3, May laced a grounder just inside the third-base bag. After showing off his quick reflexes and soft hands by getting to the ball and making a backhanded snag, Robinson unleashed an outstanding off-balance throw that bounced directly to the waiting glove of first baseman Boog Powell for the out. The O’s would go on to win the game and the series.

Nolan Arenado, Rockies
April 27, 2014 at Dodgers

“You might as well just go ahead and give him the Gold Glove right now in April,” Rockies analyst Jeff Huson said after this incredible gem by Arenado, who would indeed win his second straight Gold Glove Award at the end of the 2014 season.

It was amazing enough that Arenado managed to get to Scott Van Slyke’s grounder down the third-base line with a diving stop. Then he popped up in foul territory and, with his back foot near the lip of the outfield grass, sent a laser across the diamond to first baseman Mark Reynolds, beating Van Slyke by a step.

Derek Jeter, Yankees
1998 ALCS Game 1 vs. Indians

While some modern-day metrics don’t portray Jeter’s defense favorably, the long-time Yankees captain had his share of legendary moments in the field.

Before “The Flip” against the A’s in 2001 and his dive into the stands against the Red Sox in 2004, Jeter made this play vs. the Indians in Game 1 of the 1998 ALCS, corralling Travis Fryman’s grounder between shortstop and third base with a backhanded stop and completing a sensational jump-throw to first baseman Tino Martinez.

Best of the rest

You could make a highlight reel of spectacular infield throws using only Machado plays. Just look at this one Machado made on an Albert Pujols grounder in 2014. Or this one he made the next day, robbing Pujols again. And here's another from 2017.

The same goes for Arenado, who has shown he doesn't even need to be standing to make an outstanding throw.

But let's allow some other players to get their due.

Matt Chapman, A's
May 29, 2018, vs. Rays

Since debuting in 2017, Chapman has quickly joined Arenado, his former high school teammate, and Machado among the game's premier defensive third basemen. Chapman was behind the third-base coaching box when he made this stellar throw to get an out on Carlos Gomez's grounder last May. Watch >

Andrelton Simmons, Braves
April 10, 2015, vs. Mets

Simmons is the defensive gold standard among shortstops, and arguably all MLB players, because of plays like this one, which saw him range onto the outfield grass, jump and fire a rocket to first base to nab Travis d'Arnaud. It was déjà vu for d'Arnaud, who was thrown out from the outfield grass by Simmons twice (April 9, 2014 and Aug. 27, 2014) during the previous season. Watch >

Tadahito Iguchi, White Sox
April 15, 2006, vs. Blue Jays

Bengie Molina might have been the slowest runner in baseball during his playing days, but that shouldn't detract from Iguchi's awesome effort. Charging hard from second base on Molina's chopper over the pitcher's mound, Iguchi stumbled and began to fall as he fielded the ball. However, he managed to fling the ball to first base just before he hit the ground, recording the out to keep the tying run off base in the ninth inning. Watch >