What is a Double Play in Baseball/Softball?

A double play in Baseball or Softball is a defensive play that results in two of the opposing team's runners being called out on the same play.

| Read: 2 min

Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees grounds into a double play
GIDP for ARod

Double Plays, often referred to by the acronym, DP, in the stats, occur in a variety of ways. From the perspective of the batted ball, that includes bunts, fly balls, ground balls and line drives. When it comes to positions, that includes every player on the field. With regard to bases, all four apply.

It's important to know that runners do not need to be forced to advance in order to be involved in a double play.

Alternative Names for a Double Play

Besides DP, here are a few ways that sports broadcasters and writers refer to double plays.

Which Positions Turn the Most Double Plays?

Game design and strategy have proven that the middle infielders, combined with the first baseman, turn the most double plays. But why?

In order to pull off a double play, an offensive player must occupy one of the three bases (not counting home plate). Given that first base is the base that receives the most amount of foot traffic and a batter must put a ball in play to make this happen, it only makes good sense that the middle infielders and first baseman are involved because 1B and 2B are the bases that runners must advance to by force.

What (usually) helps encourage double plays is an effort by the pitcher and first baseman to hold the runner on at first, thereby decreasing his or her lead and increasing the chances for a double up.

The Most Common Types of Double Plays

Double Play FAQs

Which Team has grounded into the most double plays in one game?

That honor would belong to the Boston Red Sox. One night after setting the most triple plays in one game with two against the Minnesota Twins in 1990, the Boston Red Sox returned to ground into 6 double plays. Boston would go on to set the all-time record for offensive double plays in 1990 with 174. They averaged more than 1 double play per game.

References & Sources