Phillies: Eric Bruntlett Returns to Headlines Thanks to Yankees

Eric Bruntlett #4 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Eric Bruntlett #4 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

The Yankees turned the first game-ending triple play since the Phillies in 2009.

Former Philadelphia Phillies infielder Eric Bruntlett doesn’t make the headlines often, especially since he has not played in Major League Baseball since the 2009 World Series, opposite Joe Girardi’s New York Yankees.

Yet, the 2008 champion’s name has been brought up in recent days — ironically, thanks to the Yankees. Facing the Oakland Athletics on Father’s Day, the Yankees turned a clutch triple-play in the ninth inning to end the game.

It was not only the team’s third triple play this season — tying an all-time MLB record last set by the Chicago White Sox in 2016 — but also the first game-ending triple play since Bruntlett’s unassisted triple play on August 23, 2009, against the New York Mets.

The Yankees’ triple play was not the only notable MLB feat on Father’s Day, as Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Atlanta Braves hit his 100th career home run, and Shed Long Jr. of the Seattle Mariners hit a walk-off grand slam. The Phillies, meanwhile, fell 11-2 to Gabe Kapler’s San Francisco Giants, putting their season win-loss record once again below the .500 mark at 34-35.

Bruntlett’s rare play is forever remembered in Cooperstown, as his jersey from the game is hanging on display, along with a replay of the play running behind the glass. He and Detroit Tiger Johnny Neun (May 30, 1927) are the only players in MLB history to end a game on an unassisted triple play.

Bruntlett played seven seasons in MLB, with his first five while with the Astros from 2003-2007. The utility man was then dealt to the Phillies in November 2007, along with closer Brad Lidge, in exchange for three players, including outfielder Michael Bourn.

Lidge would go on to have a perfect 2008 season, significantly helping the Phillies to their second-ever World Series championship. Bruntlett contributed as well, playing 120 games in the regular season, before logging a solo home run in the Fall Classic against the Tampa Bay Rays.

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