While hitting four home runs, five extra-base hits and a perfect game are amazing feats, the UTP is more a matter of circumstance and timing.
Obviously, the situation must be right. There has to be no outs, and there must be at least two men on base. The most common UTP is a caught line drive, touching second base and tagging out a runner. Thirteen of the fifteen occurrences have been performed by second basemen or shortstops. The other two have been achieved by first basemen.
The UTP historically comes in bunches. A UTP occurred six times in the 1920’s and five times in the 2000’s. The longest drought for a UTP was forty one years between Johnny Neun in 1927 and Ron Hansen in 1968. A Cleveland Indian has achieved this feat three times (Neal Ball, Bill Wambsganss and Asdrubal Cabrera) while the Philadelphia Phillies (Mickey Morandini and Eric Bruntlett) and Boston Red Sox (George Burns and John Valentin) have registered two UTPs each. The only postseason UTP was performed by Bill Wambsganss in Game Five of the 1920 World Series.
Centerfielder Paul Hines of the Providence Grays completed a UTP in 1878. With men on second and third, Hines caught a fly ball in shallow left field. The runners proceeded to home thinking the ball would not be caught. Hines stepped on third base, forcing out both runners who had passed third. Under baseball rules today, this would not be considered a UTP.
In the final game of the 1923 season and only his second major league game, Ernie Padgett completed a UTP for the Boston Braves. This was also the first UTP recorded in the national League. Eric Bruntlett and Glenn Wright are the only players to end a game with a UTP. Johnny Cooney is the only player to have a UTP and be a victim of a UTP. He was caught by Glenn Wright in 1925 and produced his own for the Cubs in 1927. Randy Velarde became only the third second baseman to record a UTP (following Wambsganss and Morandini) in 2000 for the Oakland Athletics. In 2003, Rafael Furcal victimized Mike Matheny during his UTP. Matheny would later be Furcal’s Manager in St. Louis. Troy Tulowitzki completed his UTP in 2009 and tagged second base twice and then fired the ball to first baseman Todd Helton just for good measure.
The complete breakout of all sixteen instances is below: