Strange play in Single-A Visalia revisits rare 1985 Yankees event


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It was far from your ordinary 9-4-2 double play that you would expect. In a rather extraordinary play, Single-A Visalia managed to secure two outs on a play that was initially scored as a double, as both baserunners were tagged out at the home plate. It was a truly remarkable and rare occurrence.

D-backs prospects Danyer Sanabria, Manuel Pena, and Christian Cerda collaborated to accomplish this astounding achievement for the Rawhide in Thursday’s 6-4 loss to San Jose at Valley Strong Ballpark.

Drawing comparisons to Carlton Fisk, a legendary player, is high praise for Cerda. The 20-year-old catcher showcased his skills by replicating the remarkable play that Fisk executed for the White Sox against the Yankees on August 2, 1985. On that occasion, it was Rickey Henderson who hit a ball, credited as a single, resulting in a similar feat.

The sixth inning in Visalia began uneventfully, with Giants’ prospect Anthony Rodriguez drawing a four-pitch walk. This was quickly followed by outfielder Tanner O’Tremba connecting on a base hit on an 0-2 count, putting San Jose in a promising position with runners on first and second and no outs.

Visalia was on the verge of facing even more trouble when Jose Ramos connected solidly with the next pitch from Josh Swales, launching a powerful line drive that struck the wall in right-center field with incredible speed and accuracy.

However, little did everyone know that the Rawhide had strategically positioned themselves for this very moment against the Giants.

Sanabria executed a flawless play by fielding the ball off the wall with precision and delivering a precise throw to Pena, who had positioned himself correctly as the cutoff man. Cerda, Arizona’s 17th-ranked prospect, displayed excellent anticipation and was positioned perfectly at home plate to receive Pena’s throw, which was a well-placed one-hopper a few feet up the third-base line.

In an impressive display of defensive prowess, the catcher managed to apply not just one, but two tags almost simultaneously as both runners made their attempts to touch home plate. As a result, the Rawhide’s deficit remained at two runs, and they successfully prevented any further scoring in the inning, ultimately recording the final out unscathed.

The play is a prime example that deserves close examination on how to flawlessly execute a relay from the warning track all the way to home plate. It’s a moment that warrants a chef’s kiss for its sheer brilliance and execution.

The 1985 Yankees episode

In a memorable game on August 2, 1985, Carlton Fisk, the White Sox’s catcher, showcased his defensive prowess against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. With the game tied at 3-3 in the seventh inning, an extraordinary double play unfolded. As Rickey Henderson launched a deep fly ball to left-center field, Bobby Meacham cautiously positioned himself near second base, prepared to tag up if needed.

As the ball sailed into the gap, Meacham and Larry Berra, the baserunners on first and second, attempted to score. However, the White Sox outfielder, Luis Salazar, unleashed a perfect throw to shortstop Ozzie Guillen. Guillen swiftly relayed the ball to the plate with pinpoint accuracy. In an incredible display of skill, Fisk first tagged out Meacham and then swiftly spun around to tag a sliding Berra, effectively completing the 8-6-2-2 double play. The Yankee Stadium crowd was left in awe of Fisk’s exceptional defensive effort.

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