SPORTING HAT TRICKS
In sporting terms, hat trick was originally a cricketing term for the feat of taking three wickets in three successive balls. There is some debate as to the origin of the phrase--some claiming that the bowler was given a new hat by the members of his team*; others claiming that the bowler's hat was used as a receptacle for an informal "passing of the hat." Either way, since the 19th century the term has escaped the boundaries of the cricket pitch, and is generally used for any kind of triplet in any sporting endeavor.
* In 1858 D.V.P. Wright, having bowled a hat trick, actually was presented with a new hat.
Duc de la Rochfoucauld (1613-80)