In baseball, one of the rarest and most exciting events is “hitting for the cycle.” You may hear this term during a baseball game, but what exactly does it mean? This article will break down everything you need to know about what it means when a baseball player hits a cycle in Major League Baseball.
What Does Hitting For the Cycle Mean in Baseball?
Hitting for the cycle is when one batter hits a single, a double, a triple, and a home run, all in the same game. The hits can be in any order, however.
Hitting for the cycle has only happened 333 times as of September 4th, 2021, meaning that it only occurs in less than 1% of all baseball games — making this a rare feat. Cycles happen about as frequently as no-hitters. Only 27 players have ever hit a cycle. No more than one player has ever hit for the cycle in the same game in MLB history.
Although it is rare, the Miami Marlins are the only MLB franchise where a player has never successfully hit for the cycle.
What Does a Natural Cycle Mean in Baseball?
A natural cycle in baseball is when a baseball player hits the cycle in order, meaning that they hit a single, a double, a triple, and a home run in that order during a single game.
What Does a Reverse Cycle Mean in Baseball?
A reverse natural cycle in baseball is simply the reverse. So it is when a baseball player hits a home run, then a triple, a double, and a single in that order, all in the same game. It is simply the reverse order of a natural cycle. You can check out this link for players hitting the reverse cycle.
What Baseball Player has Hit the Most Cycles in Their Career?
The record for most cycles hit in a career is 3.
- Bob Meusel has hit three cycles for the New York Yankees in 1921, 1922, and 1928.
- Adrian Beltre hit one cycle for the Seattle Mariners in 2008 and two cycles for the Texas Rangers in 2012 and 2015. Beltre hit all three of his cycles in the Rangers’ ballpark, Globe Life Field, making him the only player to hit for the cycle with different teams in the same ballpark.
- Babe Herman hit two cycles for the Brooklyn Robins, both in 1931. He also hit one cycle for the Chicago Cubs in 1933.
- Trea Turner hit three cycles, all for the Washington Nationals in 2017, 2019, and 2021. In 2017, Turner was just 23 years old, making him the second-youngest player ever to hit a cycle in MLB history.
- John Reilly also hit three cycles, all for the Cincinnati Reds, two in 1883 and one in 1890, but these were all hit before the modern era.
What Baseball Player Hit the First Cycle?
Curry Foley hit the first official cycle in baseball history in 1882 while playing in the National League for the Buffalo Bisons. Foley hit a home run in the first inning, a triple in the second inning, a single in the third, and a double in the fifth. However, there is debate if George Hall hit the first cycle in 1876 with the Philadelphia Athletics.
Most Recent Player to Hit for a Cycle?
Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves hit the most recent cycle on August 18th, 2021. The game was against the Miami Marlins, and Freeman hit for the cycle in only six innings!
Before Freeman, the most recent cycle was hit in 2021 by Jake Cronenworth of the San Diego Padres against the Washington Nationals.
Interesting Baseball Cycle Trivia
In 2018, Christian Yelich, outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers, made history as the first player in MLB history to hit twice the cycle against the same team in the same season. He hit for the cycle twice against the Cincinnati Reds within three weeks.
Notable Hall of Fame Players to Hit for the Cycle
As of August 2021, 65 Baseball Hall of Fame players has hit for the cycle. Here is a small sample of some of the names on that list. If you are looking for the entire list of Hall of Fame players to hit for the cycle, you can visit this link. Finally, there are baseball players like Mike Trout, Adrian Beltre, Nolan Arenado, Shohei Ohtani, and more who’ve hit for the cycle, and will probably be Hall of Famers one day.
- Jim O’Rourke
- Bid McPhee
- Roger Connor
- Sam Thompson
- Honus Wagner
- Jimmie Foxx
- Lou Gehrig
- Ted Williams
- Joe DiMaggio
- Mickey Mantle
- Carl Ripken Jr.
- Kirby Puckett
- Vladimir Guerrero
Has a Baseball Player Ever Hit for the Cycle in a Postseason Game?
Remember that hitting for the cycle is a rare feat! Brock Holt of the Boston Red Sox is the only player to hit for the cycle in the postseason. In the ninth inning of Game 3 of the 2018 American League Division Series, he hit for the cycle against the New York Yankees.
Has a Baseball Player Ever Hit for the Cycle in an All-Star Game?
No player has ever hit for the cycle in the MLB All-Star Game.
In summary, hitting for a cycle occurs less than 1% of the time in a baseball game. Getting four hits during a baseball game is tough, so hitting for the cycle is even harder. However, if you are able to witness a cycle during a baseball game, you can consider yourself lucky!