Cycling up

Since 1901, there have been 245 cycles recorded in the major leagues. That means this event of hitting symmetry—single, double, triple, homer by one hitter in the same game—occurs with less frequency than a no-hitter. Some teams have had more than their share where others have gone decades between them. And some teams have never had one happen, ever.

Here’s a look at all 30 teams and their most recent cycles or near-cycles.

Atlanta Braves
Mark Kotsay8/14/08 vs. CHC

It doesn’t have anything to do with Kotsay, but the Braves had the longest stretch between cycles in baseball history. Bill Collins collected a cycle in 1910, then the Braves went 77 years (and two moves) before Albert Hall got them off the cycle duck in 1987.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Stephen Drew9/1/08 vs. STL

Drew capped his cycle with a ground rule double in the seventh and added another in the eighth in collecting the only five-hit game of his career.

Baltimore Orioles
Aubrey Huff6/30/07 vs. LAA

The triple Huff collected for his cycle was the 1,000th hit of his career.

Prior to Huff, the two previous Baltimore Orioles to hit for the cycle were Cal Ripken, Jr. (5/6/84) and Brooks Robinson (7/15/60).

Boston Red Sox
John Valentin6/6/96 vs. CHW

Fans who were at this game at Fenway saw a pair of rare feats. Not only did Valentin hit for the cycle, the White Sox turned a triple play. After Valentin hit a home run in the bottom of the first, White Sox starter Joe Magrane walked Mo Vaughn and Jose Canseco to bring up Tim Naehring. Naehring drilled a grounder to third baseman Robin Ventura, who started the 5-4-3 triple play. Were there three slower base runners in 1996 than Vaughn, Canseco and Naehring?

Red Sox hitters have completed the cycle 19 times, most in the American League. Yet they haven’t had one in more than 13 years.

Chicago Cubs
Mark Grace5/9/93 vs. SDP

Lacking power and speed, Grace still managed to hit a triple and a home run in the same game five times in his career. This is despite averaging three triples and 12 home runs a season over his 16-year career. But in four of his five games, the triple and home run were his only hits.

Grace’s cycle was notable because he needed some help from his teammates. With the single, double and triple out of the way, he was due up fifth in the bottom of the ninth. Catcher Rick Wilkins led off with a single, but the next two hitters made outs. With Grace on deck, Luis Vizcaino grounded a single up the middle, setting the stage for Grace’s place in baseball history. His three-run home run completed the cycle and cut the Padres lead to 5-4, which was the final score.

Chicago White Sox
Jose Valentin4/27/00 vs. BAL

A charter member of the American League, the White Sox have only five cycles in team history.

Valentin’s cycle was a so-called “natural” cycle in that his hits came in order. He did throw in a strikeout between his triple and home run, though.

Cincinnati Reds
Eric Davis6/2/89 vs SDP

Each one of Davis’ four hits plated a run in a 9-4 win over the Padres, making him the first Red since Frank Robinson in 1959 to hit for the cycle.

Cleveland Indians
Travis Hafner8/14/03 @ MIN

Hafner isn’t exactly synonymous with speed, but he used his wheels to collect his cycle at the Metrodome. He followed his second inning home run by legging out a double to shallow center field on a slow ground ball that skidded through the middle of the infield. In his next at-bat, he hit a tapper in front of the plate that he legged out for an infield single. Then, in his final plate appearance of the evening, needing a triple, he skied a fly ball over the head of the Twins center fielder Torii Hunter that bounced against the wall.

Hafner became the first Indian since Andre Thornton in 1978 to hit for the cycle.

Colorado Rockies
Mike Lansing6/18/00 vs ARI

A typical Coors Field affair from 2000 saw Lansing complete his cycle by the fourth inning. By that time, the Rockies were leading 14-1. Somehow, he made it to the plate only one more time all afternoon, striking out swinging in the seventh.

Detroit Tigers
Carlos Guillen8/1/06 @ TB

Needing a double to complete his cycle, Guillen took a chance on a liner to center and went for it, barely reaching the bag ahead of the throw.

Guillen’s cycle was a team affair in that he used Dmitri Young’s bat for his triple and home run and his own for the single and double. He used Magglio Ordonez’s bat for a lineout in the fourth.

Florida Marlins
Never had a cycle

Josh Willingham probably has come the closest, needing just a single in his final at-bat in a game against the Phillies in 2007. He struck out.

In 2002, Juan Encarnacion hit in the ninth inning of a game against the Expos needing a double for the cycle. He hit a home run.

Houston Astros
Luke Scott7/28/06 vs. ARI

If Valentin’s cycle for the White Sox was considered a “natural” because his hits came in order, then Scott’s was a “reverse” cycle. Scott grounded out to open his game and then homered, tripled and doubled before hitting in the ninth. He grounded out, but was the benficiary of extra innings, collecting his single in the 11th.

Kansas City Royals
George Brett7/25/90 @ TOR

Brett struggled early in 1990 and entered July hitting .256/.330/.324. In the game in which he hit for the cycle, he pushed his batting average above .300 for the first time all season. That July, he hit .388/.442/.716.

He finished 1990 hitting .329/.387/.515, collecting his third batting title.

The Royals’ cycle drought is the longest in the American League. Figures.

Los Angeles Angels
Chone Figgins9/16/06 @ TEX

Figgins’ cycle came the hard way. For starters, he was hitting ninth. Since 1954, there have been 141 cycles, but only three of them were completed by hitters batting ninth. Plus, Figgins needed a triple in his final plate appearance to finish the feat. And it came in the ninth inning.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Orlando Hudson4/13/09 vs. SFG

Entering this season, the Dodgers had gone the longest of any team without a cycle. The last time it had happened for the Dodgers was when Wes Parker accomplished the feat back in 1970. Before Parker, the previous cycle was hit by Gil Hodges when the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn, in 1949. Hudson completed the circuit in the Dodgers’ 2009 home opener—his first home game for his new club.

Hudson’s cycle was only the second in Dodger Stadium history. The first cycle hit there didn’t even include the Dodgers. It was collected by Jim Fregosi for the California Angels in 1964 when the two LA teams shared the stadium.

Milwaukee Brewers
Chad Moeller4/27/04 vs. CIN

Moeller went four for five with four RBI, but his most important plate appearance was when he reached on an error with two out in the bottom of the ninth. That was a good thing, because it cut the Reds lead to 8-7. The next batter, pinch hitter Bill Hall, clubbed the game-winning home run.

Milwaukee, home to Harley Davidson, had a lon- running promotion that offered a motorcycle to a Brewer who hit for the cycle. Too bad for Moeller, that promotion ended in 2003. His team got him a bicycle instead.

Minnesota Twins
Michael Cuddyer5/22/09 vs. MIL and Jason Kubel4/17/09 vs. LAA

The Twins are the first team since the 2003 Montreal Expos’ (Vladimir Guerrero and Brad Wilkerson) to have a pair of cycles in a single season. It’s a feat that has been accomplished 12 times since 1901 and just three times since 1979. Dante Bichette and Neifi Perez went for the cycle for the 1998 Colorado Rockies and Frank White and George Brett accomplished the same for the 1979 Kansas City Royals.

Kubel completed his cycle by hitting a grand slam in the eighth. It was the seventh time in that a cycle included a grand slam and the first since Miguel Tejada did it for Oakland in 2001.

New York Mets
Jose Reyes – 6/21/06 vs CIN

Reyes was scorching in mid-June in 2006. His cycle marked his ninth game in a row with a hit, a streak he would extend to 13 games—his longest hitting streak of the season. During that time, he hit .561/.583/.912 in 60 plate appearances.

Reyes’ cycle was overshadowed by a bullpen meltdown that saw Billy Wagner cough up a 5-4 lead in a 6-5 Mets loss. Does everything in Queens end with the bullpen melting down?

New York Yankees
Melky Cabrera8/2/09 @ CHW

Before Cabrera, the most recent Yankee cycle came off the bat of Tony Fernandez in 1995. How long ago was that? Since then, the Yankees have won four World Series titles and had two pitchers throw perfect games.

When Fernandez hit for the cycle, Derek Jeter had 11 career hits. When Cabrera hit for the cycle, Jeter was playing in his 2,084th game, tying Babe Ruth for the fourth most games played as a Yankee.

Oakland Athletics
Mark Ellis6/4/07 vs. BOS

Ellis’ cycle comes with an asterisk in that he needed extra innings to accomplish the feat. His final plate appearance of the evening came in the bottom of the 10th, with Ellis needing a single. The cycle capped an epic week for the A’s second baseman: His wife had given birth to their first child just a few days earlier.

Philadelphia Phillies
David Bell6/28/04 vs MON

Bell hit a triple to complete his cycle, but Expos manager Frank Robinson argued for fan interference, claiming a spectator handled the ball in play.

Bell’s grandfather, Gus Bell, hit for the cycle on June 4, 1951, making them the only grandfather-grandson tandem to have accomplished this feat. David’s father, Buddy Bell, never hit for the cycle, although with 2,514 hits in his career, he has more than anyone in the Bell clan. Buddy was a double short on three occasions, a triple short seven times and missing the home run seven times.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Daryle Ward5/27/04 @ STL

When Ward hit for the cycle against the Cardinals, he joined his father Gary Ward in becoming the first father-son tandem to hit for the cycle.

Daryle Ward is probably the most unlikely candidate to hit for the cycle we will come across in this article. Not exactly fleet of foot, he had just five triples in his 11-year major league career. His triple in this game was his first since 2000. Reggie Sanders, getting a late jump on Ward’s line drive to right field, had the ball glance off his glove as he was laying out for the catch. Ward completed his cycle with a chopper over a drawn-in infield in the eighth.

St. Louis Cardinals
Mark Grudzielanek4/27/05

The list of Cardinals who have hit for the cycle is amazing. It’s a who’s who of Cardinal baseball. From 1927 to 1984, Jim Bottomley, Chick Hafey, Pepper Martin, Joe Medwick, Johnny Mize, Stan Musial, Bill White, Ken Boyer, Joe Torre, Lou Brock and Willie McGee all hit for the cycle.

Since 1991, it’s been Ray Lankford, John Mabry and now Grudzielanek. Not to take anything away from these players, but they’re lacking the star quality of their predecessors.

When’s Albert Pujols going to get his?

San Diego Padres
Never had a cycle

The Padres are also one of four teams (Mets, Rays, Rockies) without a no-hitter. Five players have hit for the cycle against the Padres. They’ve been no-hit seven times.

San Francisco Giants
Fred Lewis – 5/13/07 @ COL

Lewis opened the 2007 season in Triple-A Fresno before getting the call to the majors when Dave Roberts went down with an elbow injury. In just his third game following his promotion, Lewis hit for the cycle.

Entering the seventh inning, needing just a single to finish his cycle, Lewis did it— twice. He led off the inning with a single on a line drive to right-center. Then, the Giants batted around and Lewis came up again in the seventh and delivered another single. He finished with five hits in six at-bats.

Seattle Mariners
Adrian Beltre9/1/08 @ TEX

Beltre’s first (and only) triple of the 2008 season capped his cycle against the Rangers.

Tampa Bay Rays
Never had a cycle

Perhaps the closest Ray was Eric Hinske in a game against the Blue Jays on April 22, 2008. Hinske doubled, tripled and homered in his first three plate appearances. Needing just a single to complete the cycle, Hinske whiffed in the bottom of the eighth.

Texas Rangers
Ian Kinsler4/15/09 vs. BAL

Kinsler needed only six innings to polish off his cycle earlier this year. He had two more plate appearances after his accomplishment and finished his day a perfect six for six with five runs scored.

Toronto Blue Jays
Jeff Frye8/17/01 vs. TEX

Like Figgins’, Frye’s cycle came from the number nine spot in the batting order. That was Frye’s final season in the majors, a year where he hit six doubles, a triple and two home runs in 194 plate appearances—an extra base hit rate of 4.6 percent. Of course, three of those nine extra base hits came in the same game.

After his cycle, Frye came to the plate only 18 more times in his career, collecting five singles.

Washington Nationals
Cristian Guzman8/28/08 vs. LAD

More impressive than the triple that sealed Guzman’s cycle in the eighth inning was the fact that Aaron Boone scored from first on the play.

References & Resources
Baseball Reference, Retrosheet and MLB.com were invaluable in collecting this information.

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Comments

  1. Craig Brown said...

    Todd – I thought about including Lankford in that list.  I was looking more at McGee being a part of some really great Cardinal teams, while Lankford’s Cardinal teams weren’t as good.  Only twice did one of his teams reach the NLCS, while McGee appeared in 3 World Series with the Cards.  But, I’ll agree with you… He probably belongs.

    rcberlo – You should probably re-read the Red Sox entry.

  2. Daniel said...

    rcberlo – Yeah, Canseco WAS fast, but by 1996 he could be accurately classified as farm equipment.  The guy was huge.  Maybe not one of the slowest in the majors, but below average certainly.

  3. Chris J. said...

    Yet nine times a Padre hit a double, triple, homer in a game – but none hit the oh-so-rare single in any of those games.

  4. Todd said...

    John Mabry was a great utility/bench guy in 3 or 4 stints with the Cards, but that’s all he was. Grudzielanek was only with them for the ‘05 season. But contrary to popular belief, I think Lankford actually does belong on that list. Certainly he does if McGee does.

  5. Tim said...

    Pujols triples are about as common as solar eclipses…don’t hold your breath on him making that list

    …unless you bend the rules and allow Pujols to substitute a 2nd HR in place of the triple – in which case he’s hit for the cycle twice this season

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