Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Scoring From Second...on a Sac Fly?

Strange as it sounds, runners have scored from second base on a sacrifice fly. It's not terribly common; the last time it happened was September 20, 2005. Actually, given the recent trend of one or two such plays per season, MLB is overdue for a wacky play like that. When a runner scoring from second on a sacrifice fly does happen, I would guess it happens on plays involving a fielder diving for the ball or, less likely, in parks with expansive outfields. In any case, here are the plays, from most recent back ten seasons to 1998, with runners scoring from second base on a sacrifice fly without the aid of errors.
  • September 20, 2005 - BOS @ TBD (box/PBP) - Trailing 7-1 in the bottom of the third, Jorge Cantu hits a fly ball to center field, scoring Carl Crawford from second.
  • August 27, 2004 - MIN @ ANA (box/PBP) - David Eckstein transferred his hustle power to Adam Kennedy after flying out to left; Chone Figgins only moved up from first to second.
  • June 2, 2004 - STL @ PIT (box/PBP) - A Daryle Ward flyout to left scored Jason Kendall.
  • July 30, 2003 - DET @ SEA (box/PBP) - Craig Monroe plated Bobby Higginson on a sacrifice fly to right field. I didn't realize Higginson still played that year (he actually lasted into 2005!).
  • June 21, 2002 - CLE @ MON (box/PBP) - Wil Cordero picked up an RBI and lost an at bat thanks to teammate Brad Wilkerson.
  • June 20, 2002 - TOR @ LAD (box/PBP) - The first of two consecutive days of sac flies plating runners from second saw Tom Wilson fly out to right, scoring Raul Mondesi.
  • May 29, 2002 - DET @ CLE (box/PBP) - Who is Jacob Cruz? None other than the guy that got an RBI courtesy of Damian Jackson hustling home on his fly to center.
  • May 8, 2001 - CIN @ ARI (box/PBP) - Alex Ochoa managed to get two RBI on one sacrifice fly as both Jason LaRue and Donnie Sadler scored in the eleventh inning.
  • April 3, 2001 - PHI @ FLA (box/PBP) - Doug Glanville flew out to center but Brian Hunter managed to score from second anyway.
  • August 19, 2000 - ANA @ NYY (box/PBP) - I don't know who Clay Bellinger was, but if he managed to get Jorge Posada home from second on a sacrifice fly, he did something right.
  • May 28, 2000 - MIL @ ARI (box/PBP) - A blast from the Charlie Hayes days in Milwaukee as Marquis Grissom brings him home from second on a fly ball to right.
  • April 6, 2000 - PHI @ ARI (box/PBP) - Lenny Harris, actually starting a game for once, scored Steve Finley on a sac fly to center.
  • July 27, 1999 - CIN @ LAD (box/PBP) - Back-to-back days! Todd Hollandsworth brought Gary Sheffield home from second by flying out to right.
  • July 26, 1999 - MIL @ ATL (box/PBP) - Chipper Jones scored Bret Boone on a sac fly to center.
  • August 31, 1998 - NYM @ LAD (box/PBP) - Apparently hitting a fly ball to "short left" was enough for Mark Grudzielanek to score Bobby Bonilla from second base.
  • August 26, 1998 - CHC @ CIN (box/PBP) - Being one of the last batters to wear a helmet without ear flaps probably didn't help Gary Gaetti score Mark Grace from second on a fly to right.
  • August 17, 1998 - MIN @ BAL (box/PBP) - Rafael Palmeiro continues the busy season for scoring from second on sac flies with a flyout to left field that brought Brady Anderson home safely.
  • July 24, 1998 - FLA @ PHI (Game 1) (box/PBP) - A youngster named Scott Rolen hit a fly ball to center off Kirt Ojala that was enough to score Doug Glanville from second.
  • June 5, 1998 - NYM @ BOS (box/PBP) - Edgardo Alfonzo brings John Olerud home on a fly to right-center.
  • April 6, 1998 - TEX @ CHW (box/PBP) - Albert Belle kicks off the busiest season of the past decade with a first inning fly ball to center field that brought Mike Cameron around to score.
Even more bizarre than six runners scoring from second on sacrifice flies in 1998 was what happened the following year. Apparently, a runner scored all the way from first tagging up on a fly ball.

On August 11, 1999, the Oakland Athletics hosted the New York Yankees (box/PBP). Tony Phillips led off the bottom of the first by drawing a walk from Orlando Hernandez. A wild pitch moved Phillips to second but he was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Randy Velarde's single. Jason Giambi then hit a fly ball to center field, apparently deep enough to score Velarde all the way from first after it was caught. I didn't think Velarde was that fast, but unless the play-by-play is missing a wild pitch and/or another way Velarde moved to second, I guess I'll have to believe that's how it happened. Pretty crazy stuff from the Bay Area.

EDIT: Velarde didn't score from first. See the comments for what really happened.


Scott said...

I saw the Giants' Brett Butler score from 2nd on a sac fly in about 1989. I think the opponent was the Dodgers. The RF caught the ball near the stands, then handed it to a fan, thinking it was the the third out. Butler took off and rounded third. The outfielder saw what was happening and asked for the ball back from the fan! And he got it back! He threw home, too late to get Butler.

TheJay said...

Wow, that's pretty cool. Thanks for the comment.

Gary From Chapel Hill said...

On the play where the runner scored from 1st on a flyball, there had to have been some sort of collision or injury that kept the OFs from getting the ball back in.

Scott: That sounds just like the famous Larry Walker play. Of course, once the ball was handed to a fan, it was 2 bases, whether he got it back or not.

This is very interesting stuff.

I contributed some of this type stuff (Red Sox centric) to the Boston Herald baseball blog last summer (The Bradford Files). Here's one example that I thought was pretty interesting:

In 2007, there were only two innings pitched in the majors where three strikeouts were recorded on just nine pitches, and both were by Braves pitchers. Wil Ledezma did it against Detroit (go figure) on 6/22 and Buddy Carlyle did it vs SD on 7/6. It was the only time that Carlyle struck out the side all year on any number of pitches!

Al said...

I think it is more likely the play sheet is missing Velarde going to 2B on the throw home than scoring from 1B on a SF.

Larry said...

"Phillips tried to score on Randy Velarde's single but was thrown out at the plate by O'Neill in the first inning after colliding with Posada. Both benches emptied when it appeared that the two were ready to engage in a physical altercation. But cooler heads prevailed and the game continued without further incident.

Velarde advanced to third on the play and scored on Giambi's sacrifice fly that made it 1-0. Grieve connected on a 3-1 pitch with one out in the second to give the A's a two-run lead and eclipse his homer total of a season ago when he won AL Rookie of the Year honors".

Theron Schultz said...

Ah well, there you go. It seemed weird that he could score from first on a sac fly anyway. Thanks for the true story.

Larry said...

Thanks, Theron. I was in Zach Levine's (a columnist for the Houston Chronicle) live chat blog last night. He provided a link to your article after a discussion came up in the press box when Michael Bourn scored from second on a sac fly to Tal's Hill by Lance Berkman. So you have one to add to your list.

One would have thought that, in the 8+ seasons since MMP opened, the feat would have happened before, giving the expansive CF and the obstacle of Tal's Hill. If Bourn becomes the regular CF next year, look for it to happen again.