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Cycling for the cycle

Posted 04-21-2009 at 11:47 AM by Lundind1

It is interesting that in the first 2 weeks of the season we have seen the numbers coming in that we have, at least in terms of players hitting for the cycle. And by that I mean 3 is an interesting number so early in a season, or ever for that matter.

For those of you who don't know what a cycle is (I hope that you do) it is a single, double, triple, and home run in the same game. A natural is when you do it in just that order. There have been exactly 14 natural cycles in MLB to date, and oddly enough, 7 in the National League and 7 in the American League. The reverse natural cycle is pretty self explanatory being that only 3 of them have been hit since 1956.

Our White Sox have had the pleasure of seeing 5 cycles hit throughout our glorious 108 year history. The last Sox player to hit for the cycle was Jose Valentin, here at US Cellular Field, almost EXACTLY 9 years ago, April 27th, 2000. In terms of history though, the Sox are not even close to the leader in most Major League Cycles ever hit in franchise history. That distinction goes to......the Pittsburg Pirates. There have been 23 of them hit for the Bucs.

Hitting for the cycle is a very rare and special achievement. There are many players who have hit for 2 cycles, actually 21 players in ML history, but there are 3 at the top of the list with 3 cycles apiece. These special players are Babe Herman who achieved his feats with the Dodgers twice and the Cubs once, John Reilly who hit all 3 with the Reds, and finally Bob Meusel who hit 3 with the Yankees.

The last 10 years have seen an average number of cycles hit. This is one statistical category that remains fairly bulletproof in this day.

1999-3 (Sox Chris Singleton had one in early July of that year)
2000-5 (Valentin had his in late April)

The three to hit for the cycle this year have been Jason Kubel (completing it with a Grand Slam, only the 7th time it has happend that way) for the Twins on April 19th, Ian Kinsler for the Rangers on April 17th, and Orlando Hudson for the Dodgers. An interesting note about Hudson is that he didn't even know that he had hit for the cycle and only learned as such when people began congratulating him on the bench in the dugout.

Some more interesting other notes. Last season there were two that were hit, on the SAME day. That was the second time in ML history that that had occurred. On September 1st, 2008 Stephan Drew hit for the cycle for the Diamond Backs and Adrian Beltre hit one for the Mariners. The first time was Bobby Veach for the Tigers and George Burns for the New York Giants in 1920 on September 17th. That might be considered a 100 year mark for Baseball. That was really rare history.

Although we have seen history for the most hit in a short amount of time, 6 days, we still have a long way to go when it comes to most in a short amount of time. 7 were hit from June 28th to August 12th of 1890. 1933 was close to our mark with 4 being hit August 2nd through the 17th, and in that time 3 of involved players from Philadelphia. 2 of them were hit by A's players and 1 from the Phillies. That year was a great year to hit for the cycle as 8 were hit that year from May 5th thru September 30th.

Brad Wilkerson did it for the Expos against the Pirates in only 4 plate appearances, achieving the feat on June 24th, 2003. Gary Ward(1980) and Daryle Ward(2004) were the first father/son combo to attain this mark. Gus Bell(1951) and David Bell(2004) were the first grandfather/grandson to achieve the mark.

Babe Ruth, arguably the greatest hitter of all time, NEVER hit for the cycle. It just goes to show how difficult it is to hit for the cycle in Major League Baseball. This is just another baseball oddity that strengthens our love for the game. This one really should rank right up there with a no hitter in my mind or at least just below it. In the past week we have really seen a ton of history made. Hopefully you at least got to see some of the achievements, and if history serves me correct, we should see a few more of these this year after such a "fast" start.
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  1. Old Comment
    With Paul Konerko coming within a triple shy of the cycle twice this week, I wonder if he would have been the least likely player to ever hit for the cycle. In 6321 career PAs, he's hit just 6 triples, thats' 0.095% of his career PAs. I wonder if anyone else has hit for the cycle with less of a probability of hitting a triple or home run in their career.
    Posted 04-21-2009 at 12:10 PM by doublem23 doublem23 is offline

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