SI Vault
N. Brooks Clark
May 12, 1986
It is one of the odder facts of baseball that of the eight unassisted triple plays in major league history, two of them came on successive days. Diamond savants may recall that on May 30, 1927, with Pirates on first and second, shortstop Jimmy (Scoops) Cooney of the Cubs caught a line drive, touched second and tagged out the runner from first, who had been running with the pitch. The next morning, Tiger first baseman Johnny Neun read about Cooney's feat over breakfast and wondered aloud to his roommate, shortstop Jackie Tavener, how long it would be before someone made another unassisted triple. Tavener figured maybe 10 years, which shows how much he knew: Not only did the next triple play occur that very afternoon, it was made by Neun himself.
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May 12, 1986

Linked By Their Special Triple Plays, Two Oldtimers Finally Get To Talk

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Neun: I was his spring-training coordinator in the big leagues with the Yankees for the full 12 years he was there.

Cooney: That so? My brother John was a pitcher, you know.

Neun: I knew John real well. We were with the Braves together. Lefthand pitcher.

Cooney: Yeah, John was a real good friend of Casey's.

Neun: Well, he could hit and he could run.

Cooney: John lives in Sarasota, Florida now.

Neun: Oh, does he? I understand he plays a lot of golf, and he's a good one.

Cooney: Yes, he does like golf. He's six years younger than Iā€”about your age.

Neun: Yeah, we were about the same age when we were there. We played for [Bill] McKechnie.

Cooney: I remember McKechnie. He was in the American Association, too. I played for Milwaukee four years, so I remember him out there.

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