Today’s Orioles/A’s game ended on a play at the plate (no one was injured in the making of this play). Immediately after Kurt Suzuki tagged out pinch-runner Blake Davis, the Twitterverse exploded with “wow, what a way to end the game!” blasts. Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein opined:
@Kevin_Goldstein Awesome ending in Oakland. Last out at the plate is actually more exciting than walk-off hits.
I decided to do some quick research on how often one sees a game-ending “throw from the outfield to catcher” out at the plate. I dove into the Baseball-Reference.com Play Index, to find the specific “event” of: any at-bat, during 9th inning or during extra innings, to outfield, as last play of game, with runners on base and team trailing by three runs or less.
There are 2,430 games in each full season, so there have been roughly 23,700 contests since the beginning of the 2002 season (a reasonable sample size, 9.5 years worth). The Orioles/A’s contest today was only the 18th to end with an out on a throw from the outfield to the plate, (so about one in every 1,317 games end in this fashion). Here are the other 17:
Quirky notes: Melvin Mora was tagged out at the plate to end two different games (consecutive chronological instances). Before today, the last such game-ender occurred exactly 364 days ago . . . here it is.