Despite how the Yankees have made it look this season, triple plays are a fairly rare thing. They’ve turned three so far this season and six since 2010, but prior to that, they hadn’t completed one since 1968.
The Yankees ending a game in such a rare fashion got us wondering other times they’ve had games end on some sort of weird or rare play.
The most amusing way any Yankee game has ended was probably on a balk back on May 5, 1943.
After losing a two-run lead in the top of the ninth, the Yankees quickly loaded the bases against Boston’s Andy Karl in the bottom half of the inning. According to the New York Times, Karl started his delivery only to become preoccupied by the runner on third. In his attempt to stop the delivery, he ended up lightly looping the ball into the air for a clear balk and a 4-3 Yankees’ win.
On six different occasions, the Yankees have won a game by picking off a baserunner for the final out. Even weirder than that is the time they turned one of their own runners getting picked off into the winning run.
In a game on September 28, 1975, and Yankees and Orioles were tied at two in the bottom of the ninth. With runners on the corners, manager Billy Martin called for a squeeze bunt with Rich Coggins at the plate. The pinch hitter whiffed on the bunt attempt and runner Rick Dempsey took off for home. He got caught in a rundown before eventually barelling into pitcher Dyar Miller at the plate, causing him to drop the ball and commit an error. Even funnier is that was the final game of the season and with the Yankees missing the playoffs, that ended up being the final action of the Yankees’ 1975 season.
When it comes to actual walk-off hits, you’re far more likely to see them be singles or home runs. Triples are the least likely hit as it is, for the circumstances to be right for a triple to be needed for a walk-off win is even less likely. There’s been at least 13 wins via walk-off triple in Yankees’ history. Three have come with the Yankees down a run and down to their last out. According to Win Probability Added, the biggest came from Elston Howard on May 14, 1955.
After coming into the inning down two runs, the Yankees were down to their last out with runners on first and second. Mickey Mantle kept the game alive and plated a run with a single, brining the rookie Howard to the plate. He hit one to left that Jim Delsing was set to field. However, the ball took a weird hop and went all the way to the wall, allowing both runners to score and Howard to go all the way to third safely, giving the Yankees the win.
Possibly the only funnier way for a game to end than some of these would be a catcher’s interference, which hasn’t happened for the Yankees so far. Perhaps it’s time to bring back Jacoby Ellsbury and get that done. Kidding...maybe.