Vanderbilt triple steal

In most baseball games, a couple batters will attempt to steal second or third base. Sometimes, you may even see one attempt to steal home. Those are all normal stolen base scenarios.

What’s a little more odd is a double steal. Typically that involves runners on first and second and they attempt to steal second and third respectively. Very rarely will you see runners on second and third attempt a double steal of third and home respectively, and every so often, you’ll see a delayed double steal with runners on first and third.

However, what’s more uncommon than all of those steal scenarios combined? How about a straight up TRIPLE STEAL? Well, Vanderbilt baseball did that on Thursday and succeeded.

All three runners were safe in the incredible feat that shocked college baseball. However, if you’re a Vanderbilt fan, this wasn’t an uncommon move.

Back in 2012, the Commodores pulled it off against Florida.

Thursday’s triple steal helped lead Vanderbilt to a doubleheader sweep of Auburn by scores of 5-2 and 9-3. The triple steal came in game one of the twin bill in which the Commodores won 5-2.

With Vanderbilt having completed two in the span of four years, this begs the question: how common is this in Major League Baseball?

According to MLB historian John Thorn, the first attempted triple steal came in 1910 and it failed.

After doing some research, it appears there have only been four triple steals in Major League Baseball history. That’s right: just four.

The first occurred on July 25, 1930, the Philadelphia Athletics executed a triple steal TWICE during a game against the Cleveland Indians. That was 20 years after the first attempt at a triple steal.

The next time a triple steal was converted successfully was 57 years later on October 1, 1987 when Atlanta stole three bags at the same time against Houston.

The most recent triple steal was back on May 28, 2008. The Indians simultaneously stole three bases against the Chicago White Sox in an 8-2 victory.

However, according to The Baseball Almanac, the Athletics’ triple steals in 1930 are the only straight triple steals in baseball history. What does that mean? Well, the 1987 and 2008 feats by Atlanta and Cleveland were either delayed steals or took place during a rundown on a pickoff attempt. Philadelphia’s triple steals weren’t the results of rundowns or pickoff attempts and instead were all natural right when the pitch was thrown steals.

In short, Vanderbilt has pulled off a feat twice in the last four years that no major league team other than the Philadelphia Athletics has ever done before.


About David Lauterbach

David is a writer for The Comeback. He enjoyed two Men's Basketball Final Four trips for Syracuse before graduating in 2016. If The Office or Game of Thrones is on TV, David will be watching.