On Monday, Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers, 38, became the third player in modern baseball history to hit for the cycle three times in his career. Beltre slammed a home run in the fifth inning after tripling in the first, doubling in the second, and singling in the third.
Beltre may have fudged a little, as his double into the left-center gap could well have been stretched into a triple. He turned the corner hard at second, but suddenly windmilled his arms in an effort to bring himself to a stop. Beltre admitted that he thought about a triple, allowing,”I thought I might, but I changed my mind last second.” Asked whether his sudden halt resulted from a chance at a cycle, Beltre hesitated, then answered, “Maybe.”
Beltre candidly admitted that when he came to bat in the fifth, he knew a home run would complete the cycle, asserting, “Not going to lie, I was looking for a home run.” Beltre’s previous cycles also occurred at the Rangers’ ballpark; the first as a member of the Seattle Mariners on September 1, 2008, and the second as a Ranger against Minnesota on August 24, 2012.
Rangers starting pitcher Colby Lewis enthused, “He’s our leader, and it’s just another testament, another story, another chapter in his book,” while manager Jeff Banister echoed, “What an incredible feat for him. Truly amazing.”
Two other players have hit for the cycle this season, Brock Holt of the Red Sox on June 16 against Atlanta and Shin-Soo Choo, also of the Rangers, on July 21 against Colorado. The Rangers have hit for the cycle six times since the start of 2009; Arizona and Colorado trails behind Texas with three.
Since 1901, when the founding of the American League marks the start of the modern era, only Babe Herman, with two in 1931 and one in 1933, and Bob Meusel, in 1921, 1922, and 1928, have amassed three career cycles.
Hitting for the cycle happens aboutas rarely as no-hitters; since 1901, the cycle has occurred 266 times, while 256 no-hitters have been hurled. Aaron Hill of the Arizona Diamondbacks had the shortest time between cycles for one player, accomplishing the feat only 11 days apart in 2012.
Only two teams have never had a player hit for the cycle: the Miami Marlins and the San Diego Padres. Twice in history cycles occurred on the same day: on September 17, 1920, when Bobby Veach of Detroit and George Burns of the New York Giants hit for the cycle, and on September 1, 2008, when Stephen Drew of Arizona and Beltre accomplished the feat. Dave Winfield hit for the cycle at 39, making him the oldest player to do so, Mike Trout became the youngest when he did it at the age of 21.
Interestingly, hitting for the cycle has become far more common since 2001; between 1901 and 1950, the cycle occurred 103 times, between 1951 and 2000 it happened 105 times, but in the last 15 years, it has happened 58 times.