This day in baseball: Paul Hines’s unassisted triple play

On May 8, 1878, outfielder Paul Hines of the Providence Grays took part in what was believed to have been the first known unassisted triple play. Playing at home in the Messer Street Grounds against Boston, runners Jack Manning and Ezra Sutton were on third and second base, respectively. With no outs in the inning, Jack Burdock hit a short fly to left field that Hines ran hard to catch for an out, and he ran all the way to third base to get both Manning and Sutton out. Under the rules of the time, if both players had rounded third on the batted ball, by stepping on the bag, Hines got them both out for not tagging up. However, there is some debate as to whether or not Sutton actually rounded third on the play.

Paul Hines with the Washington Nationals, 1887 (public domain)

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