Eric Kevin Bruntlett (born March 29, 1978), is an American former professional baseball utility player, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies. Bruntlett is perhaps best remembered for executing an unassisted triple play, in 2009.
Bruntlett with the Washington Nationals
|Born: March 29, 1978|
|June 27, 2003, for the Houston Astros|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 4, 2009, for the Philadelphia Phillies|
|Runs batted in||72|
|Career highlights and awards|
Bruntlett won a World Series title with the Philadelphia Phillies, in 2008. That October, he was one of the unexpected heroes of the club's World Championship victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In Game 5, after Pat Burrell doubled, Bruntlett pinch ran for him, with the score tied in the seventh inning; he moved to third, as Shane Victorino grounded out, then scored the winning run, on an RBI-single by Pedro Feliz. Bruntlett also played on the Phillies’ 2009 National League (NL) pennant-winning team, as he had previously done, for the Houston Astros’ 2005 NL pennant-winner. In 2010, after becoming a free agent, he spent the season playing for the Minor League Baseball (MiLB) Triple-A affiliates of the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees, respectively. Following the season, Bruntlett retired from active play. Since retiring Bruntlett has turned his attention to dominating amateur golf. In January 2019 he went wire to wire to win the inaugural Figjam tournament, held annually at Bandon Dunes Resort. He followed it up with a victory in the 4th Annual Peter Classic, held in the Truckee, CA area at Old Greenwood, Gray’s Crossing, Coyote Moon and Edgewood golf courses. He won the tournament with a final four round score of -3 (285).
Early life and educationEdit
Bruntlett was born in Lafayette, Indiana and is a 1996 graduate of William Henry Harrison High School in West Lafayette, Indiana where he was a two-time All-Indiana selection in both baseball and football. He attended Stanford University. During his tenure as a member of the Cardinal, Stanford made three appearances in the College World Series.
Bruntlett was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 9th Round of the 2000 Amateur Entry Draft. He was assigned to the Martinsville Astros. He quickly progressed through the minor league system and reached the major leagues in 2003 with Houston.
During his first years with the Astros, Bruntlett primarily served as a backup to shortstop Adam Everett but also played second base, third base, and the outfield. His best season was in 2006, hitting .277 in 73 games and posting a .412 batting average as a pinch hitter. On November 7, 2007, Bruntlett was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies along with Brad Lidge for Geoff Geary, Michael Bourn, and Mike Costanzo.
Bruntlett hit .217 with 46 hits, 2 home runs, and 15 RBIs.
His biggest mark was left in the post-season. He hit a home run in Game 2 of the World Series followed by a game-winning run in Game 3. Bruntlett would cap off his World Series performance by scoring the series-clinching run in Game 5, allowing the Phillies to win their first World Series since 1980 and second overall.
Bruntlett performed the fifteenth unassisted triple play of the modern era in the bottom of the ninth inning on August 23, against the New York Mets at Citi Field, when he caught a line drive from Jeff Francoeur, tagged second base to double off Luis Castillo, and tagged Daniel Murphy as he was running to second base. Both Castillo and Murphy had reached base on misplays by Bruntlett. It was the second game-ending unassisted triple play in Major League Baseball history and the first in the National League, preserving a 9–7 Phillies win. Bruntlett would appear as a fielder in only four additional major league games after this play. Rather than accepting an assignment to Triple-A, Bruntlett was released by the Phillies on November 16.
On December 28, 2009, Bruntlett signed a minor league contract with the Washington Nationals. He also received an invitation to Spring Training. He was reassigned at the end of Spring Training to minor league camp. He was released on June 2, 2010. On June 17, 2010, Bruntlett signed a minor league contract with the New York Yankees; he was granted free agency on November 6, 2010. He decided to retire from baseball and be a stay-at-home dad rather than spend another year in AAA.
- "Eric Bruntlett Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved December 27, 2012.
- "Eric Kevin Bruntlett". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved December 27, 2012.
- "Phillies land Lidge in five-player trade with Astros". CBSSports.com. 2007-11-07. Archived from the original on 2012-10-11. Retrieved 2009-08-24.
- Unassisted triple play seals Phillies' victory Ray Parrillo
- Gurian-Peck, David (2009-08-23). "Phils back Pedro in NY, win on rare feat". MLB.com. Retrieved 2009-08-24.
- Zolecki, Todd (2009-08-24). "Bruntlett sending jersey to Hall of Fame". MLB.com. Retrieved 2009-08-24.
- Ladson, Bill (December 28, 2009). "Nats bring aboard Whitesell, Bruntlett". MLB.com. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
- Jason (April 3, 2010). "Who's on first? And everywhere else?". MLB.com. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
- "Bruntlett safe at home". jconline.com. May 8, 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2011.