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It's Time to Respect the Triple

Behold, the Triple!

Perhaps one of the least-accumulated statistics in baseball, the triple is almost rare in its occurrence. Unlike the dreaded catcher’s interference or the appalling balk, the triple is at least understood by the most common baseball fan.

Three bases with one swing of the bat.

But to collect three triples in a single game? Blasphemy. Unheard of. Not possible.

The triple belongs to the realm of the fleet of foot. The three-bagger exists for the “Wahoo” Sam Crawfords, the Ty Cobbs, Honus Wagners and Tris Speakers of the world who rank among the Major League’s career leaders. Among the top 65 Major League players in career triples, only three played even a single season after 1970: Roberto Clemente, Lou Brock and Willie Mays.

The Mets’ Daniel Vogelbach, at 6-0 and 270 pounds, in his seven-year Major League career, has 259 hits and 63 homers. And one lonely triple.

But in the Atlantic League in 2022, the triple belongs to Braxton Lee and the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.

On Tuesday, August 9, Lee did what many thought was nearly impossible: he hit three triples in a 7-3 win against High Point.

Three triples in one game?

Yasiel Puig was the last Major Leaguer to do it. In 2014. A mere eight years ago.

Lee leads the Atlantic League with nine triples this season. His teammate, Jack Sundberg, has seven triples. Combined, the duo have hit as many triples this season (16) as the entirety of every Atlantic League team based in New York.

How lonely is the triple? Only 2% of the 8,341 base hits in the Atlantic League in 2022 are triples compared to 20% doubles and 12% home runs. Southern Maryland has 36 triples, far out-distancing second place Lancaster with 25.

It’s time to give the triple the respect it is due and Southern Maryland’s Braxton Lee is the spokesperson for the movement with Jack Sundberg as chief deputy. It's only appropriate as they rank one and two in the Atlantic League in triples this season.

At least this year’s 169 Atlantic League triples will still have one statistic it can look down on: those 45 balks.

 



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