One notable baseball play was left out of our last compilation of Shea Stadium versus Citi Field firsts – the triple play.
One of the rarest occasions in baseball, the Mets have been involved in 17 triple plays, having hit into eight and turned nine of these inning-killers in their history.
The Mets turned their first at-home triple play in the 6th inning on May 30, 1962, against the Los Angeles Dodgers at the Polo Grounds; Chacon to Mantilla to Hodges. It was only their 41st game. They lost.
Mets catcher Joe Pignatano hit into the team’s first offensive triple play in the last game of the 1962 season, on September 30. They were beaten 5-1 by the Chicago Cubs, losing an all-time record 120 games in a season. It was Pignatano’s last major league at bat.
There were seven triple plays made in Shea Stadium, and the very first was on May 31, 1964, in the top of the 14th inning, against the San Francisco Giants.
With the score tied 6-6, Jesus Alou hit a lead-off single off Met reliever Larry Bearnarth. Willie Mays walked. Orlando Cepeda then hit a line drive to Met shortstop Roy McMillan, who stepped on second base and threw to first baseman Ed Kranepool for a 6-3 triple play.
The Mets lost anyway, 8-6, in the 23rd inning.
They hit into their first “triple-killing” at Shea on August 15, 1964.
Mets third baseman Bobby Klaus hit a line drive to Phillies pitcher Ray Culp. He threw to shortstop Ruben Amaro, catching Mets shortstop Roy McMillan off second base. Amaro threw to first baseman Frank Thomas for the third out – Mets starter, Jack Fisher.
The Mets lost, 8-1.
Citi Field already has a tie to the triple play. Jackie Robinson hit into one in a Dodgers-Giants game, on September 29, 1957 at the Polo Grounds. Both teams then moved to California. Source: Society for American Baseball Research.