Monday, July 19, 2010

Trivia: Cycling Through

This past week, Bengie Molina became the ninth player in MLB history to hit a grand slam and for the cycle in the same game. The record for most cycles in a career is three, and its held by three players: Bob Meusel, Babe Herman, and John Reilly. However, only one of those guys, John Reilly, hit for the cycle in different leagues. Can you name the most recent player to hit for the cycle on an NL team and an AL team?

4 comments:

Greg said...

Okay, this was a mean question. I probably should have given the following hint: This player hit for the cycle with the New York Mets in 1997. Then he hit for the cycle with the Seattle Mariners in 2001.

The answer?
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John Olerud.

Greg said...

Here's the link to Baseball Almanac's page about hitting for the cycle.

Chairman said...

Take a peek at Olerud's page on Baseball Reference. What's interesting is that he wasn't a speed guy (and neither is Molina - on his triple, his gut looked like it was roughly the size of mine). He had 11 SB in his career, and only 14 triples in 17 seasons. There was one freak year where Olerud hit 4 triples (1998). And he had 2 seasons where he stole a career-high 3 bases. So it's not like some injury slowed him down. He was slow to start, and stayed slow.

But to hit for the cycle? That takes some confluence of unlikely events. In both 1997 and 2001, the only triple Olerud hit all year was the day he hit for the cycle.

For Olerud's 1997 cycle, I'm guessing that he won't really be celebrating any anniversaries (he hit it on 9-11-97). But it was interesting because he got his HR in the 7th, and then hit a triple off of Steve Kline with the bases loaded and 2 outs in the 8th, on the Mets' last time at-bat (they were winning and at home, so no 9th inning). So it was timely, and it's not like he had to stretch a double - he got in there standing up (though, it appears that Vlad was in the CF w/ a bad hammy, and sort of gimped his way to the ball).

http://nyti.ms/c0Qmgr

In 2001, he smacked around Carleton Loewer (Padres), who gave up 7 hits and 6 ER to the Mariners in only 2.0 IP, getting a double and triple early on. In fact, it wasn't until the 9th inning that Olerud completed the cycle with a 2-run HR (for his only 2 RBI of the game). However, the triple? Not exactly a beautiful thing, as apparently the ball went down the RF line, and then got under the Mariners' bullpen bench (who I'm sure took their time in clearing space for the Pads' fielder).

http://bit.ly/bXQ8nH

Pretty cool stuff, I think. Lots of random things can happen. And everyone once in a while, slow guys can hit for the cycle twice.

Greg said...

Roland, that is pretty interesting. While I knew Molina only averages one triple about every 900+ ABs (and thus was amazing that he hit that triple to cap the cycle), I didn't realize how few triples Olerud had hit. I would have guessed Olerud was the type of guy who regularly got 2 to 4 triples in a season, as opposed to averaging less than one. Now I'm wondering if Olerud is the only player in major league history to have hit for the cycle more than once with each time the triple being his only one of the season... sounds possible.