06/04/2004: Baseball trivia time, Part II: Hitting for the cycle, redux....
My earlier post on hitting for the cycle (or, more accurately, on someone else's webpage devoted to hitting for the cycle) got me curious about the feat. In the referenced post, I said:
It's a pretty rare feat; there are plenty of excellent hitters who've never hit for the cycle in their careers. One of those hitters is someone whose name you might recognize: Babe Ruth.That got me to thinking: what is the record of baseball's top players with respect to hitting for the cycle?
For my listing of top players, I'm going to defer to baseball statistics übermensch Bill James, and use his listing of the 100 greatest players of all time from his The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. No, I'm not going to go through all 100 members of that list (the thought briefly crossed my mind to do this for all the players enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but I really don't want to spend the time and energy right now. Maybe for some "significant post"--like my 500th post under Greymatter or something like that), but let's look at James's top-25 and see how they rate....
- Babe Ruth: as I mentioned above, never hit for the cycle in his career.
- Honus Wagner: The best player to hit for the cycle, Wagner performed the feat on August 22, 1912.
- Willie Mays: Never hit for the cycle.
- Oscar Charleston (Negro Leagues): Never hit for the cycle
- Ty Cobb: Never hit for the cycle.
- Mickey Mantle: Hit for the cycle on July 23, 1957.
- Ted Williams: Hit for the cycle on July 21, 1946.
- Walter Johnson: Never hit for the cycle. Which is not surprising, given that Johnson was a pitcher.
- Josh Gibson (Negro Leagues): Never hit for the cycle.
- Stan Musial: Hit for the cycle on July 24, 1949.
- Tris Speaker: Hit for the cycle on June 9, 1912.
- Henry Aaron: Never hit for the cycle.
- Joe DiMaggio: With the Yankee Clipper, we finally get the best player who hit for the cycle twice. Joltin' Joe went cycling on July 9, 1937 (exactly twenty years before I was born) and again on May 20, 1948.
- Lou Gehrig: Larrupin' Lou also hit for the cycle twice. The first time was on June 25, 1934 (the 58th anniversary of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, for what that's worth). The second time Lou performed the feat he was a teammate of DiMaggio's, and hit his second cycle less than a month after Joe hit his first; Gehrig did it again on August 1, 1937.
- Joe Morgan: Never hit for the cycle.
- Barry Bonds: Never hit for the cycle.
- Satchel Paige: Ol' Satch was a pitcher; do you even have to ask? (No, he never hit for the cycle.)
- Eddie Collins: Nope.
- Lefty Grove
- Grover Cleveland "Pete" Alexander: Grove and Alexander were both pitchers, so this isn't a surprise.
- Mike Schmidt: Never hit for the cycle.
- Rogers Hornsby: Never hit for the cycle.
- Cy Young: Unsurprisingly, never hit for the cycle.
- Frank Robinson: Hit for the cycle on May 2, 1959. There's an old baseball saying, "Just give me nine men named 'Robinson'", which calls attention to the fact that there's been quite a few exemplary players named "Robinson" in the majors. Interestingly (and I think, appropriately) enough, the three "modern" Robinsons--Jackie, Brooks and Frank--have all hit for the cycle in their careers.
- Turkey Stearns (Negro Leagues): Hit for the cycle on May 31, 1923.
Len on 06.04.04 @ 08:51 PM CST