Double plays are famous as they are important in the game of baseball. It is where the defending team causes two outs in one play. A rare but effective play is the 3-2-3 double play.
What is a 3-2-3 double play?
It is a specific kind of double play that happens when the ball flies towards the first baseman or the 3 and then thrown to the catcher or the 2. The base runner from the 3rd base or the 5 tries to get to the home plate but gets outed - the first out. The catcher then throws back the ball to the first baseman just before the batter reaches the bag. The batter is outed by the first baseman - a double out in a single continuous play by the defensive team.
The 3-2-3 double play is a relatively rare type of double play as it occurs when the bases are loaded. This means there is a player on offense trying to run for the bases. This is the situation where a force play is possible at both the first base and the home plate.
In this kind of play, the coordination of the first baseman and the catcher is crucial.
The Catcher and the First Baseman
When performing as the first baseman, the player must be able to ground the sharp-hit ball that went down the first base. He must quickly throw the ball to the catcher before the base runner reaches the home plate. The first baseman or the 3 must be ready to catch the throw from the catcher in time before the batter steps on the first base while keeping a foot on the bag.
The catcher in this play must be prepared to catch the ball from the 3 to out the runner sprinting towards the home plate. He should quickly pass the ball back to the first baseman to out the batter.
Notable 3-2-3 Double Play in History
One famous execution of the 3-2-3 double play happened during Game 7 of the World Series back in 1991. Sid Bream of Atlanta grounded the ball towards Kent Hrbek, Twin’s first baseman, then fielded the ball and immediately threw it to their catcher, Brian Harper. This outed Lonnie Smith. Harper made a quick throw to Hrbek and retired the side. This was how the top half ended the 8th inning.