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.