On July 27, 1994, the Montreal Gazette was inspired to track Jimmy Cooney’s son for a talk about his dad’s unassisted triple play:
When Boston Red Sox shortstop John Valentin made the 10th unassisted triple play in major-league history earlier this month, it brought back a flood of fond memories for 67-year-old Magog resident Bob Cooney.
Cooney’s father, Jimmy (Scoops) Cooney, completed the fifth unassisted triple play in the majors while playing shortstop for the Chicago Cubs in 1927.
“I believe it happened the same way as it did in Boston the other day,” Cooney recalled in a recent interview. “There were runners on first and second and it was a hit-and-run situation.”
Cooney’s triple play came in the fourth inning of a game in Pittsburgh on May 30, 1927. Cooney caught Paul Waner’s liner, stepped on second to retire Lloyd Waner, then tagged Clyde Barnhart off first.
The day after Cooney’s triple play, the Detroit Tigers’ John Neun completed an even rarer unassisted triple play by a first baseman.
“He caught a line drive, stepped on first and the runner from second was already rounding third,” Bob Cooney recalled. “He decided that he could outrace the SOB back to second for the unassisted triple play rather than throwing it. He later admitted that he had read in the paper that day about Dad’s triple play and that’s why he did it.
“The two of them never met,” Cooney added, “but around seven years ago Sports Illustrated put them together on a telephone line for a story.”