Two for the price of one, the double play in baseball is a quick way to kill an offensive rally. Talked about rarely from a statistical perspective, these are the leaders from different categories based on the double play.
Most Turned as a Second Baseman
The record for most double plays turned by a second baseman belongs to Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski with 1706. Mazeroski played all 17 years of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, averaging about 100 per season.
With only a .260 career average, “Maz” was known mostly for his defense until in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series he hit a walk-off home run against the New York Yankees to win the championship. Perhaps turning a few extra double plays during the regular season helped get his team deep into October baseball.
Most Turned as a Shortstop
To no surprise, Omar Vizquel holds the record for most double plays turned by a shortstop with 1735 of them. Like Mazeroski, Vizquel won multiple Gold Glove Awards in his career.
A future Hall of Famer who shined with the glove instead of the bat during the Steroid Era, Vizquel earned every double play he was a part of. If anyone else was at shortstop instead, it may have been a base hit. Thanks to Vizquel playing in an era of high television coverage many of us greatest plays were caught on film so generations to come will see just how good he was.
Most Double Plays Grounded Into in a Career
In order to hold this record you would have to be a pretty good player to stick around long enough despite making double the outs with one swing. With 350 total double plays grounded into, Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. has the record, possibly his second most unbeatable.
Never known for his speed, Ripken Jr. was one of the first power hitting shortstops to play in Major League Baseball. With as many double plays as he grounded into, it can be forgiven for everything else he gave the Baltimore Orioles and baseball in general.
Most Double Plays Grounded Into in a Season
In 1985 Jim Rice grounded into 35 double plays. This fell one short of the record he set the previous year of 36.
The next closest anyone has come to breaking Rice’s record, one he would probably rather not have, is 32 which is held by several players. Despite his tenacity to hit into double plays, Rice was given an overdue induction into the Hall of Fame in 2009.
Avoiding the Double Play
Three players have played in 150 games or more and not hit into a double play. They are Augie Galan in 1935, Dick McAuliffe in 1968, and most recently Craig Biggio in 1997. Surprisingly, none were them were well-known for their speed, although Biggio could have been considering he stole over 400 bases in his career.
Most Double Plays Grounded Into in a Game
Grounding into 4 double plays in a game is difficult to do yet three players have done it. Goose Goslin, Joe Torre, and Victor Martinez have all experienced the golden sombrero of grounding into double plays. The record in any single game is 5 and these three players nearly tied it by themselves.