Top Moment No. 7: Bruntlett’s Unassisted Triple Play – Phillies Nation

Top Moment No. 7: Bruntlett’s Unassisted Triple Play

Top Moment #7: Bruntlett’s Rare TP Gives Phils a Big W

Eric Bruntlett had two defining moments as a two-year member of the Philadelphia Phillies. Nothing is more grandiose than scoring the winning run in the final game of the World Series.  If you’re talking about single plays, few approach that level in baseball.  Unless, of course, you walk right into an unassisted triple play to end a game; which is pretty damned close.

The Bearded One will forever be associated with this one-man beatdown of the New York Mets, providing one of the most unheard of plays in all of sports.  It’s such a rarity that it hadn’t happened that way since a gent named John Neun did it for the Tigers in 1927.  There have been 33 triple plays in the history of the Phillies, but just two of them of the unassisted variety. Mickey Morandini did it as well, back in 1992 against the Pirates.  EB became the 15th player in MLB history with any sort of unassisted triple play.  Not bad for a career .231 hitter.

Prior to that ridiculously improbable ending, Eric Bruntlett was in line to be one of the goats.  Along with Ryan Howard, the two fumbled a few grounders in the ninth inning, allowing for the winning run to approach home plate.  The Phillies held a six-run cushion after the first inning when they chased starter Oliver Perez.  They inflicted so much damage in that opening frame that Perez didn’t pitch in the majors for another two months.  However, The Phils, with Pedro Martinez on the mound in his first appearance in New York since his release, let the Mets back in it, setting the stage for a precarious ending.

With Jeff Francouer at the dish, the runners on first and second were told to run, and run they did – right into the record books.  Francouer smashed it right at Bruntlett who stepped on second, then tagged Daniel Murphy to complete the 1.8 second triple play.  The Phils escaped with a 9-7 victory.

It was one of the few games during the season where Bruntlett made a real impact.  However, it’s such a monumental feat that Phillies fans everyone will be able to answer this trivia question for the next few decades.



  1. Joe

    January 15, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    I remember I was watching this game with my dad, and we were ready to string Bruntlett up by his neck. The two misplays he made to allow men on base almost certainly would blow yet another save by Brad Lidge. I was so incredibly upset, and I said to my dad, “Well, I guess there’s always a chance of an unassisted triple play.” And we both laughed. “By Bruntlett,” he added, and we laughed even harder.

    I don’t think I’ve ever been more amazed at one single play in the many years I’ve been watching baseball.

  2. Dudley Monk

    January 15, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    It was a “once-in-a-lifetime” moment for Eric Bruntlett, and many fans including myself will remember him warmly for such an event, even though luck was a big part of it. I wish him all the luck with his new team and hope he realizes that he will be forever remembered here in Philly.

  3. Jack

    January 15, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    I agree with Dudley. He played within his own means and this was by far an unreal play and he deserves credit for being in the right place. I still remember his warm smirk after this. For as much as people ragged on him, I’ll miss him and wish him well the rest of his career and will be glad to see him back in the future decades as they honor the ’08 team

  4. Manny

    January 15, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Still speechless with that play.

    Corollary: Mr. Lidge was about to blow another save. Two guys on base, zero outs.

  5. Jeff

    January 15, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    and if only the Mets had not sent the runners, it would have been 1 out, men on 1st and 2nd still… ahh gotta love them Mets.

  6. WFC010

    January 15, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    Bruntlett may not have been the best player ever, but we will always remember him fondly for his awesome beard, un-assisted triple play, and of course for his final run in the ’08 WS.

  7. Brian Sr. of CO

    January 16, 2010 at 9:00 am

    WFC010 is correct on most of it except “may not have been the best player ever”. LOL. He was just flat out bad. LOL. But hey, I agree while he was horrible, couldnt hit, couldnt field, I always appreciated him for his baseball mind, which was one thing he had, and lets not forget the Beard. Pretty sad that he was signed by the worst team in baseball to a MINOR league deal, but oh well. Thanks for the memories.

  8. WFC010

    January 16, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Brain Sr. : Hey, I was just being polite towards his beardness!

    We all are well aware of just how awful he was, but I can’t help but look back at him fondly…but it may just be because i’m a Phillies fan, and often look back more fondly on the crap players, than the good ones. Anyone who watched the Phillies teams in the late 80’s knows what i’m talking about…possibly! lol

  9. Nick

    January 16, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Bruntlett scores WS winning run >>>>>>>>>>>>> Unassisted Triple Play

    Not even close.

  10. Brian Sr. of CO

    January 20, 2010 at 4:55 am

    WFC010, I understand, thants why I put in the LOL as the disclaimer. Ive been a Phillies Phan for about 30 years, so I recall way to many “crap players” and crap teams. LOL Like I say in most posts, this is one hellevu time to be a Phillies Phan!

  11. Pingback: Fire Eric Bruntlett » Blog Archive » Unassisted Triple Play Ranks 7th on Phillies Nation

  12. Chris

    January 27, 2010 at 9:19 am

    I was there. Some huge beast of a man prevented me from seeing that he actually caught it on a line drive so i thought we just got a double play. When they all started crowding Bruntlett and the Mets fans started crying, i just screamed “TRIPLE PLAY???!!!!”
    The Muts fans were not pleased.

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