The rarest play in baseball history

Depending on where you look for the play by play records on April 19th, 2013 when the Cubs and Brewers played in Milwaukee, you might not get the real story. Truth is, Jean Segura stole second base, tried to steal third, ended up at first again and got caught stealing second all in the same inning.

It’s actually the second time in MLB history that the same person tried to steal second base twice in the same inning. Fans just haven’t seen it happen in over one hundred years.


Umpire Crew Chief Tom Hallion

See for yourself:

The usual records for keeping track of play by play baseball have no room for a runner retreating back to a base. So some records never indicate that Segura actually went back to first base and then tried to advance a second time. The footnote would be too large anyway, trying to explain a complicated rule in baseball that has an addendum because of Germany Schaefer.

Never saw that.

Second-base Umpire Phil Cuzzi

Segura looked more confused than anything when he got caught up in a hot box trying to return to second base and found Ryan Braun already standing there. After Segura singled to get on base and stole second, Braun walked and the two tried a double steal, except Segura got hung up and because Braun had already made it to second, he was called out for advancing past the first runner as Segura slid past him. It appears that Segura thought he was out and started trotting back to the dugout when the Brewers first base coach told him he wasn’t technically out yet. He headed to first and was safe.

It was tough on me, so I don’t want to see it again

Jean Segura after the game

On the instant replay, Segura steps off second base and was tagged. He should have been called out, but the umpire missed it. When he headed back to first and got on base he’s considered safe because of the addendum to Rule 7.08(i) which states that a runner can return to a base if he thinks the ball has been caught or is decoyed into thinking it has been caught. The original rule states that a player cannot reverse the order of bases “for the purpose of confusing the defense or making a travesty of the game.” This leads us to Germany Schaefer.

Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia

On a hot August day in Chicago in 1911, Germany, an infielder with the Senators at the time, stole second with the idea that a man on third would have the chance to steal home. The White Sox didn’t go for it, but Germany wasn’t done. It was the bottom of the ninth and the Senators were going for the win. He took a lead towards first on the very next pitch and stole back to first. Arguments ensued between the umpire and the White Sox manager and Germany tried to steal second again. This time he was caught and it ended the inning. Segura is an excellent base stealer and should not be lumped in with this sort of trickery. It was just a confusing play. He has an incredible future ahead of him. Just ask Seattle Mariners fans.

Jean Segura entered the Minor Leagues though the Angels in 2007. He has played in several different leagues from the west coast to the Midwest to the Dominican Summer League. He has suited up for single A ball through triple A ball all over the country and he has played well everywhere from his twenty-two game hit streak with the Orem Owlz in ’07 to his nod to the All-Star Futures game with the Arkansas Travelers in 2012. He has bounced around since making his debut with the Angels in 2012, first being dealt to the Brewers and then to the Diamondbacks last season. He was traded in November to Seattle where he’ll most likely be a starter.

You are always looking for ways to get better.

Jerry Dipoto, Mariners General Manager

Last season, Segura hit .319 with a National League leading 203 hits, 41 doubles, 33 stolen bases, 20 home runs, and 64 RBI. Those are some unbelievable statistics. His metrics are trending upward in nearly every category. He will be one of the youngest to grace the Mariners infield next season and add some fire power to their lineup. He is poised to have another great season and one that could see his name being floated around come All-Star break.

The Mariners are hoping that Segura can help push them past the Rangers this season and get them into the playoffs adding to the lineup of Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager. The trade has Mariners fans and front office ready for next season with their potential roster already set. According to General Manager Jerry Dipoto, “You may not hear from us again.”

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