Baseball isn’t only about catching and hitting a ball. To the avid baseball enthusiast, the sport is about catching momentous events as athletes try their best to win awards. Some feats even award baseball athletes with standing ovations, such is the case of the cycle. But what is hitting for the cycle in baseball?
In baseball, a cycle is a feat of hitting a single, a triple, a home run, and collecting all of the hits in the same game. It has happened only a handful of times in Major League Baseball at the time of writing. It’s a rare occurrence since one challenge in the cycle is already fairly difficult to accomplish.
With that in mind, you might be wondering about who were the players that achieved this incredible feat? Continue reading to find out.
The first time a player hit for the cycle was printed was in 1933, according to The Dickson Baseball Dictionary. During this year, Jimmie Foxx of the Philadelphia Phillies became the sixth player in major league history to hit for a cycle. But what about the other five players? As it stands, no record of the other five players that hit the cycle didn’t appear in researched documents.
Take note that hitting the cycle is quite an incredible feat. It’s an achievement wherein one player makes a single, double, triple, and home run in one match.
What is the First Cycle in Baseball?
The word cycle was used in 1921. According to a news article, George Sisler hit the cycle in 1921. However, an 1882 news article mentions that Charles ‘Curry’ Foley became the first batter to hit the cycle. He hit a home run, a triple, and four doubles in six at-bats. Others believe that George Hall of the Philadelphia Athletic Club hit the cycle on June 1876. However, he didn’t get the cycle in that game. Michael Huber, a Professor of Mathematics at Muhlenberg College, researched the game and concluded that Hall did not get the cycle.
Who are MLB Players That Hit for the Cycle?
Once the announcer shouts that a baseball player hit the cycle, the next scene will no doubt be the crowd going wild. It’s a rare feat that only 14 MLB players in history (at the time of writing) accomplished this feat. Some of these players include the following:
1. Daryle Ward of the Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pittsburgh Pirates’ top three hitters all had big nights, with Jason Kendall, Jack Wilson, and Ward combining to give the team’s offense a huge lift. Gary Ward, Daryle’s father, became the first father-son duo to hit the cycle path together.
Tim Kurkjian, an MLB analyst on ESPN’s SportsCenter and Baseball Tonight, reported the achievement in his Twitter account.
Gary/Daryle Ward are the only father-son combo to hit for the cycle. Sal/Drew Butera are the only father-son position players to pitch in a MLB game. Cecil/Prince Fielder finished their careers with the same HR total: 319. Ken Griffey Sr/Jr. hit HRs back-to-back. #bestofalltim— Tim Kurkjian (@Kurkjian_ESPN) June 14, 2019
Cycle: 4-5, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 3 R (5/26/04)
2. David Bell of the Philadelphia Phillies
Bell had his best season in 2004, and while he wasn’t the motor that drove the offense, he certainly was capable of doing it. During this season, he was also able to score over 40 points above his career average. Still, keep in mind that baseball is a team sport; although Bell contributed to the team’s overall score, he wasn’t the only important member of the club. Other players, such as Jimmy Rollins, Jim Thome, and Pat Burrell, were also excellent performers during that year.
Watch the highlight of Bell hitting the cycle below:
Today is the 16th anniversary of David Bell hitting for the cycle against the Montreal Expos at Citizens Bank Park.— Phillies Nation (@PhilliesNation) June 28, 2020
Cycle: 4-4, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 R (6/28/2004)
3. Eric Valent of the New York Mets
In 2004, Eric Valent hit a home run or a triple in each of his five seasons. Valent was used less as a starter this season, but he was still very productive as a pinch-hitter. He hit .333 with two home runs and eight RBI in July. Despite not contributing significantly to the team’s overall score, this particular season was one of Valent’s bests. After all, he was able to hit the cycle and lead the Mets forward against the Montreal Expos.
7/29/04: #MetsLegend Eric Valent hits for the cycle and leads the charge against the Montréal Expos en route to a 10-1 Mets victory. pic.twitter.com/uAF2kENo1Y— Real Mets Legends (@MetsLegends) March 6, 2021
Cycle: 4-4, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R (7/29/04)
4. Mark Grudzielanek of the St. Louis Cardinals
Grudzielanek wasn’t a nobody in the baseball scene, particularly after piling up 201 hits in 1996. It was Mark Grudzielanek who led off the 2005 season for the St. Louis Cardinals, which also lead to this player hitting the cycle.
On this day in 2005, #STLCards 2B Mark Grudzielanek hit for the cycle. His bat is now on exhibit at the #CardsMuseum pic.twitter.com/Ezv5FwBadY— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) April 27, 2015
Cycle: 4-5, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R (4/27/05)
5. Fred Lewis of the San Francisco Giants
In 2008, Lewis had his best season in terms of triples. He finished with 11 triples, which tied him with Jose Reyes for second on the team. In that year, the Giants also had an average of 0.458, in which Lewis’s 11 total bases became vital elements to that equation. Interestingly, that day was also Mother’s Day, which might be an attribute to Lewis’s dedication to win that time.
On this date in 2007, Fred Lewis of the @SFGiants was playing in his 16th MLB game and had never had more than 1 hit in a game.— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) May 14, 2020
He went 5-for-6 in the contest and hit for the cycle.
He is still the only player in MLB history to have a cycle for his first career multi-hit game. pic.twitter.com/WXb8ajZSPT
Cycle: 5-6, 2 1B, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R (5/13/2007)
A cycle occurs when a player hits four or more hits in a game. It’s nothing short of a rare feat that not every player in the MLB can achieve. However, once a player hits a cycle, it’s no surprise that it will be a crowd-pleasing moment.