Despite not turning a triple play in 19 years before last night, the Braves franchise has a rich history of turning triple plays, even if most of it is not in Atlanta. In fact, most of the franchises’ triple plays came when they were playing in the city they turned one in last night, Boston.
The Braves franchise, which consists of the Atlanta, Milwaukee and Boston Braves, as well as other names, including the Boston Beaneaters and Boston Red Caps, have turned the second most triple plays in MLB history with 41, trailing only the St. Louis Cardinals per the SABR database. The first triple play they turned came on July 14th, 1876, when second baseman George Wright and first baseman John Morrill teamed up for a 4-3-4 triple play to get the Boston Red Caps out of the inning.
Before last night, there had only ever been one 8-3-5 triple play, which was turned by the Boston Beaneaters, part of the Braves family tree, in 1884. The franchise would turn four triple plays as the Red Caps, 14 as the Beaneaters, 13 as the Boston Braves, three as the Milwaukee Braves and seven as the Atlanta Braves following last night.
The first triple play in Atlanta Braves history came on August 29th, 1969, where they induced the only 3-6-2-5-1-4-7 triple play in MLB history. The seven players involved is also tied for the record for most players to participate in a triple play.
While a triple play can involve seven players, it can also only take the efforts of one player, as Rafael Furcal showed in 2003, when he made a leaping catch and picked off the runners who were helpless following a hit and run play.
Since moving to Atlanta, the Braves have hit into more triple plays than they have turned by a 12-7 margin. The last triple play they hit into came on August 7th, 2019 when Tyler Flowers grounded into a 5-4-3 triple play. The 5-4-3 is by far the most common triple play, with 13.6% of all triple plays coming this way, with the next closest form being the 6-4-3 at 7.8%.
This leads us to last night, when a set of base running calamities led to the Braves first triple play since 2004. With men on first and second, Tristan Casas flew out on a lazy fly ball to center, when Adam Duvall was caught in no mans land and picked off at first base. Once the ball went to first base, Masataka Yoshida inexplicably took off for third where he was easily thrown out, giving the Braves an 8-3-5 triple play, the first one since the Boston Beaneaters did it against the Providence Grays on June 7th, 1884.