What Is The Least Common Double Play In Baseball?
Baseball is one of the most technical sports, and completing double plays can be quite a difficult task. A double play refers to the offensive team getting two players out in one play. The least common double play in baseball is a 3-6-4 play, which consists of the first baseman throwing the baseball to the shortstop (who gets a runner out at second base), then the shortstop throws to the second baseman (who gets the hitter out at first base). This double play requires a controlled throwing and catching technique since there isn’t much time to beat the players who are running around the bases and trying to score.
How Are Double Plays Written in Baseball?
Before learning about the least common double plays in baseball, we need to know how double plays are named and written in baseball. Fortunately, the method is very simple. In baseball, each position on the defense is referred to by a number, with the number progressing from one to nine, as follows:
- 1 - Pitcher
- 2 - Catcher
- 3 - First Baseman
- 4 - Second Baseman
- 5 - Third Baseman
- 6 - Shortstop
- 7 - Left Fielder
- 8 - Center Fielder
- 9 - Right Fielder
In order to write out a double play in baseball, you simply write the numbers of the players who received the ball in the order in which they received it, with the numbers separated by hyphens. For example, if the shortstop was to get the ball off of the hit and throw it to the second baseman for the first out, who then threw it to first base for the second out, this would be written as a “6-4-3 Double Play.” Now that we know how to write out double plays, let’s look at the least common forms of the double play in baseball.
The 3-6-4 Double Play
Often, the time of making a double play can range from 3.5 to 4.5 seconds, which isn’t much time for getting two outs. The 3-6-4 double play is rare because the first baseman, shortstop, and second baseman must time their throws and catches with exact accuracy. This rare double play is typically done when the batter hits a bunt toward first base. The 3-6-4 play can only occur, too, when there are runners heading toward both second base and first base.
The 1-2-3 Double Play
Another uncommon double play in baseball is the 1-2-3 double play. The pitcher (who grabs the fielded baseball) throws it to the catcher to get a runner out at the home base. The catcher then throws the baseball to the first baseman to get the hitter out as well. This double play is quite rare since the bases need to be loaded, and the inning must have fewer than two outs. Similar to the 3-6-4 double play, the 1-2-3 double play takes precise throwing and timing in order to get two runners out.
The 5-6-3 Double Play
The 5-6-3 double play is quite rare in baseball as well. A 5-6-3 double play occurs when the third baseman throws the ball to the shortstop (who is covering second base), then the shortstop throws to the first baseman to get the second runner out. This type of double play can only happen when the infield shifts; however, with the new MLB shift rule in place, the 5-6-3 double play will likely not occur anymore.
Common Double Plays
Double plays occur quite often during baseball games, such as the 6-4-3 double play and 4-6-3 double play, but there are other plays that are rare due to the distance of infield players and throws. Scoring a double play is one of the most exciting aspects of baseball, and fans always look forward to seeing their favorite teams make riveting plays such as the double play.