This Day in Baseball History: May 3rd, 1986

No, it’s Sac Fly Man, and all those sac flies have got to kill your OBP.

On May 3rd, 1987:

Don Mattingly hits 3 sacrifice flies in one game.

You think hitting three home runs in a game is cool? What about a no-hitter? A perfect game? How about a cycle? Well because I’m weird, I think this is much cooler. To hit a sacrifice fly, you need a few things to happen. First, you have to be at the plate. Second, you need a man on third (technically, he could be at second or third, but I need to look up if a man actually ever got from second to home on one of those). Third, you need less than two outs. Then, to do it three times in one game? It’s almost impossible. It’s actually not, but only nine people have ever done it: Ernie Banks, Russ Nixon, Vince Coleman, Candy Moldonado, Chad Kreuter, Juan Gonzalez, George Bell, Edgar Martinez, and, of course the hero of our post, Don Mattingly.

How’d he do it? In the bottom of the first, Rickey Henderson worked his magic. He singled to center, stole second, and then got the pitcher to balk, moving him to third. With one out, Mattingly flied one out to left to bring him home. An inning later, chaos ensued, but all you need to know is that Mike Pagliarulo was on third with one out, and Mattingly hit one to center to bring him home, making it 3-2 New York. After a pedestrian fielder’s choice his next at-bat, Mattingly received another chance via Henderson. Henderson walked and moved to third on Willie Randolph’s single and error by Geno Petralli. Mattingly stroked this one to left for his third sac fly of the game. He grounded out in his last at-bat.

What’s really weird is that Vince Coleman accomplished the feat just two days earlier and knocked in all three Cardinals runs that day by doing so.

Some other odd sac fly trivia:
– Oakland in 1984 holds the major-league record for most in a season with 77
– Gil Hodges has the most in a season with 19 in 1954
– Bobby Bonilla holds the record for most in a season by a switch-hitter in each league with 17 in 1996 with the Orioles and 15 in 1990 with the Pirates
– Pete Rose, Frank Taveras, and Kirby Puckett are tied for the most at-bats (680) in a season without hitting a sac fly

Trivia Time
What is the most sac flies in one inning by one team?

Yesterday’s answer –> It was going to be Dave Orr in 1885, but Ken, who puts in a lot of good work at DMB, made the observation that it was in fact Charles Foley in 1882. The Buffalo Bisons were a major league team at that point but would lose that status four years later. Almost making it back as a major league team, they were bumped in favor of the Red Sox when the American League started. MLB’s website decided to not include them or Foley’s feat.

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2 Responses to “This Day in Baseball History: May 3rd, 1986”

  1. Ron Rollins Says:

    ’82 World Series. Cardinals have runners on 2nd and 3rd. The batter, I think Tommy Herr, hit a fly ball to CF. Gorman Thomas fell down while catching the ball and both runners scored.

    I’ve seen it happen two other times. It’s not common, by any means, but not unheard of.

  2. tHeMARksMiTh Says:

    Did he break his hip and arm, too? Geez, that’s impressive, but I kind of figured that it had happened at some point. Thanks for the note.

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