It came on July 8, 1994, about a month before MLB went on strike. Here’s how the Boston Globe described it:
Red Sox shortstop John Valentin entered the history books by pulling off the baseball rarity in the sixth inning last night. With runners going from first and second, he snared Seattle DH Marc Newfield’s liner, stepped on second to force Mike Blowers and trotted a few steps to tag the runner (Keith Mitchell) coming from first – all very matter-of-factly.
In the bottom half, the Sox unloaded their first three-homer inning in nearly a decade – triggered by none other than Valentin – as they overtook the Mariners, 4-3, in one of the most memorable games you’ll ever see at Fenway Park.
It was the 11th time in major league history an unassisted triple play had occurred.
Valentin admitted that at first, he thought there was one out because after catching the liner and stepping on the bag, he noticed “Keith Mitchell wasn’t really running. I looked over at the scoreboard and saw there was nobody out and my teammates reminded me to tag him.”
Precious few have seen anything like Valentin’s effort, the first unassisted triple play since Philadelphia second baseman Mickey Morandini accomplished the feat on Sept. 20, 1992. It was the first for the Sox since 1923, when first baseman George Burns turned the trick against the Cleveland Indians. And it was the Sox’ first triple play of any kind since July 28, 1979, when Jack Brohamer, Bob Watson and Hobson teamed up.
“Every player dreams about something like that,” Valentin said. “It was something special. I guess it was my night.”