On this date in Texas Rangers history, the Rangers executed the longest triple play, in terms of touches, in more than 30 years.
The game was on April 14, 2002, and the Rangers were hosting the Seattle Mariners. With Kenny Rogers pitching for the Rangers, Seattle’s Ruben Sierra — yes, that Ruben Sierra — doubled to start the fourth inning. John Olerud followed that with a single, which moved Sierra to third and put runners at the corners. That’s when the fun started.
Ron Wright grounded back to Rogers, and the left spun around and threw the ball to second base, where shortstop Alex Rodriguez was covering the bag. That forced out Olerud. Sierra tried to score from third, so Rodriguez threw to Rangers catcher Iván ‘Pudge’ Rodríguez at the plate, catching Sierra in a run down. Rodriguez threw the ball to Rangers third baseman Hank Blalock, who then threw it back to Rogers, who finally applied the tag to Sierra for the second out.
During the rundown, Wright made it to first safely, but became greedy and tried to take second base. For the second time, Rogers wheeled around and threw to second base, with Michael Young covering the bag and applying the tag to Wright for the third out to end the inning.
If you’re keeping score, that was a 1-6-2-5-1-4 triple play. Up to that point, the last triple play with six or more touches in the Majors was on August 29, 1969, when six Atlanta players executed a triple play against the Chicago Cubs. The Atlanta players involved in that play, in order, were Orlando Cepeda, Gil Garrido, Clete Boyer, Pat Jarvis, Félix Millán, and Rico Carty.
Oddly, Carty played for the Rangers in 1973, but also played for the Chicago Cubs and the Oakland Athletics that season.
Also on this date …
April 14, 1981: The Rangers opened the home portion of their schedule at Arlington Stadium with a 7-1 loss to Cleveland, in front of 22,761. Jon Matlack took the loss for the Rangers, as he fell to 0-2 for the season. Buddy Bell went 3-for-4 and drove in the only run for the Rangers. Rick Waits threw a complete game for Cleveland, giving up just one run.
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