June 21, 1992 Phillies-Cubs tilt. There were actually two games in which Mickey Morandini forced out Dawson at second on a double play, but the other was the April 7, 1992 season opener, and I learned that the Phillies unveiled their new uniforms that day. So no throwbacks. That puts us in the top of the fourth inning on a Sunday afternoon. "The Hawk" has just singled on a ball that shortstop Mariano Duncan couldn't come up with, but Philly starter Kyle Abbott responds by getting Mark Grace to hit it to Duncan for a 6-4-3 DP to keep the game scoreless. But three straight Cubbie hits the following inning lead to three runs, and Mike Morgan blanks the Phils until Dave Hollins' too-little, too-late two-run homer in the ninth. Cubs win 5-2. (That's a lot of toos/twos!)
About the Back: There have been three more unassisted triple plays by second basemen in the years since. Randy Velarde (2000), Asdrubal Cabrera (2008), and Eric Bruntlett (2009) all performed the feat. Mickey's was the first unassisted triple play in the major leagues since shortstop Ron Hansen in 1968, and Hansen's was the only one between 1927 and 1992, but there have been six in total since Morandini. How weird is that?
1. Mickey had quite the amateur resume, playing for Team USA in the 1988 Summer Olympics and setting several team records at Indiana University, including most career runs scored (277), doubles (61), triples (29), and steals (127).
2. He was an All-Star for the only time in his career in 1995, when he batted .283/.350/.417 with 34 doubles. At the break, he was batting .302 with a .370 OBP.
3. Morandini was the head coach at Valparaiso High School for four years before a three-year managerial stint in the Phillies' farm system. Currently he is a coach with Philadelphia's AAA club, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
11-Year-Old Kevin Says: Before I even knew Phillies' play-by-play broadcaster Harry Kalas by name, I knew his prolonged, sing-song pronunciation of "Mi-ckey Mor-an-DI-ni".
Bill James Said: "A better second baseman than Mariano Duncan, but a career .197 hitter against lefthanded pitchers (59-for-300), so there are good reasons to platoon him." Over his entire career, Mickey boosted his average to .221 vs. lefties, but his .586 OPS vs. southpaws was still well below his .728 mark against righties.
On This Date in 1993: August 15. Kirby Puckett has himself a day, going 5-for-5 with a pair of two-run homers in Minnesota's 12-5 rout of the Athletics. Minor league veteran Bernardo Brito also homers twice for the Twins, and Brian Harper and Jeff Reboulet each go deep once; all of this action comes in the first six innings of the game. It's the third of Puckett's four career five-hit games; he also had a pair of six-hit efforts in his Hall of Fame career.