Baseball Notebook

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Hitting For Cycle Not Major Event

Babe Herman was the last player to hit for the cycle three times when he hit for the cycle while with the Cubs in 1933.

Babe Herman was the last player to hit for the cycle three times when he hit for the cycle while with the Cubs in 1933.

Hitting for the cycle has been so commonplace lately that it is like a non event.

64 players have hit for the cycle since 1991 but no Hall of Famer has hit for the cycle in that time span.

There a few potential Hall of Famers who have hit for the cycle in that time span.

They include Alex Rodriguez, Todd Helton, Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Vladimir Guerrero and Mark Teixeira.

Starting with the 2000 season 45 players have hit for the cycle. In this season alone there have been seven players to hit for the cycle with a month and a half left in the season.

The Twins have even had two players to hit for the cycle this season in Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer.

Felix Pie hit for the latest cycle last night in the 16-6 romp by the Orioles over the Angels.

Before last night Pie had only eight extra base hits all season. He had only two homers and 11 RBI’s before last night.

Orlando Hudson, Ian Kinsler and Jason Kubel hit for the cycle between April 14 and April 17 of this year.

Then Melky Cabrera, Troy Tulowitzki and Felix Pie hit for their cycles between August 2 and August 14.

Pie increased his batting average from .234 to .244 with his four hit night.

Two weeks from now Pie could even be back in the minors since he was not having a good season and one good night may not be enough to save his job.

Babe Herman was the last major leaguer to hit for the cycle on three separate occasions. He hit for the cycle the third time while a member of the 1933 Chicago Cubs.

Herman is probably more famous for trying to stretch a double into a triple when there were two players already occupying third base:

Wikipedia gives the details of that baserunning disaster:

Herman’s name is associated with a baserunning gaffe during his rookie year. During a game on August 15, 1926, at Ebbets Field, he tried to stretch a double off the right field wall into a triple with one out and the bases loaded; Chick Fewster, who had been on first, advanced to third base – which was already occupied by Dazzy Vance, who had started from second base but was now caught in a rundown and was dashing back to third. All three of them ended up at third base, with Herman not having watched the play in front of him, and the third baseman, Eddie Taylor, tagged all three just to be sure of getting as many outs as possible. The slow-footed Vance had been a major contributor to this situation, but according to the rules the lead runner was entitled to the base, so umpire Beans Reardon called Herman and Fewster out. Thus, Babe Herman was said to have “doubled into a double play“; he would later complain that no one remembered that he drove in the winning run on the play. (Hank DeBerry was on third when Vance was on second and Fewster was on first; when Babe got his hit, DeBerry scored.) This led to the following popular joke:

  • “The Dodgers have 3 men on base!”
  • “Oh, yeh? Which base?

In summary players that hit for the cycle for the most part are players who are in the spotlight for one day then drift into oblivion with the exception of some better known names.

These are some examples of players that hit for the cycle since the 1999 season ended:

Mike Lansing hit for cycle June 18, 2000….Named in Mitchell Report for buying steroids from Kirk Radomski on February 5, 2002 but never played in the majors after buying the steroids.

Greg Colbrunn hit for cycle on September 18, 2002…Played his last major league game in 2004.

Chad Moeller hit for cycle on April 27, 2004…Hit .208 in 2004, .206 in 2005 and .184 in three seasons with the Brewers. He is hitting .208 for the Orioles this season so his cycle was a complete fluke considering he was a terrible hitter.

Eric Valent hit for the cycle on July 29, 2004…Hit .267 in 2004 and hit .186 in 2005. Hasn’t played in majors or minors since 2006.

Felix Pie may remember hitting for the cycle for the rest of his life but most baseball fans will forget about it by the end of this month.

Hitting for the cycle is not a major event in my estimation. With it being accomplished 45 time in nine and two thirds seasons that projects to about 450 times a century.

When considering that only Joe DiMaggio has hit safely in 56 consecutive games in the 140 year history of major league  a player hitting for the cycle fades into insignificance.


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