Top MLB Moments: Hitting for the Cycle in Baseball History

Pat Bloom

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Hitting for the Cycle In Baseball

Baseball’s rich tapestry of terms can sometimes leave you scratching your head. One such term, “hitting for the cycle,” recently made headlines thanks to a young Cincinnati Reds player, Elly De La Cruz. But what does it mean to hit for the cycle?

In essence, hitting for the cycle is when a batter achieves a single, double, triple, and home run all in one game. It’s a rare feat, comparable to pitching a no-hitter.

Even more astonishing is the “natural cycle,” where these hits occur in that exact order. De La Cruz accomplished this in just his 15th MLB game, showcasing a remarkable blend of skill and luck.

Understanding this term not only deepens your appreciation for the game but also highlights the extraordinary achievements of players who manage to pull it off. So, next time you hear about someone hitting for the cycle, you’ll know it’s a moment worth celebrating.

Decoding the Rarity: Hitting for the Cycle in Baseball

Hitting for the cycle is a rare and prestigious baseball achievement that occurs when a batter records a single, double, triple, and home run in a single game, showcasing the player’s power, speed, and precision.

The Four Essential Hits

Hitting for the cycle encompasses four distinct hits, each representing a different level of difficulty and skill:


The most common type of hit is where the batter hits the ball and reaches first base safely before the defense can make a play. While seemingly simple, singles require precision in hitting to find gaps in the defense or place the ball where fielders cannot reach it.


This occurs when the batter hits the ball and reaches second base safely before the defense can make a play. Doubles typically involve hitting the ball into the outfield gaps or down the lines, requiring both power and speed to advance an extra base.


Triples are the rarest of the four hits, happening when the batter reaches third base safely after hitting the ball. Triples often result from hitting the ball deep into the outfield or exploiting defensive misplays, demanding exceptional speed and strategic baserunning.

Home Run

The most celebrated type of hit, a home run, happens when the batter hits the ball out of the playing field, allowing them to circle all the bases and score a run without any defensive interference.

Home runs require tremendous power, timing, and technique to send the ball beyond the outfield fence.

Historical Significance and Rarity

Hitting for the cycle in baseball is a rare and prestigious achievement, more uncommon than pitching a no-hitter. Notable players like Mickey Cochrane, who completed the cycle in 1934, have added to the sport’s lore with this feat.

The term gained popularity through media, and the triple is often the most challenging hit to achieve. Modern players continue to chase this milestone, enhancing their legacy and exciting fans.

Notable Cycle Hits in Major League Baseball

Several players have etched their names in baseball history by hitting for the cycle. Here are some notable examples:

Famous MLB Cycles

Several MLB players have made history by hitting for the cycle. Mickey Cochrane of the Philadelphia Athletics did so on July 22, 1932, against the Washington Senators.

Pinky Higgins of the Boston Red Sox achieved it on August 6, 1933, against the Detroit Tigers, and Moose Solters of the St. Louis Browns did so on August 19, 1934, against the Cleveland Indians.

More recently, Luke Scott of the Houston Astros hit for the cycle on July 28, 2006, against the Arizona Diamondbacks, including his first career home run.

Record-Breaking Statistics

Throughout MLB history, several games have featured players hitting for the cycle. Here are some notable instances:

May 27, 1939Detroit TigersSt. Louis Browns12-5
July 3, 1943Boston Red SoxCleveland Indians12-4
August 7, 1963New York MetsSt. Louis Cardinals7-3
June 16, 1964St. Louis CardinalsHouston Colt 45s7-1
July 17, 1966Chicago CubsSt. Louis Cardinals7-2
April 21, 1976Montreal ExposChicago Cubs12-6
September 15, 1979Boston Red SoxBaltimore Orioles10-2
May 18, 1996Colorado RockiesSt. Louis Cardinals9-8
April 27, 2000Chicago White SoxBaltimore Orioles13-4
June 24, 2003Montreal ExposPittsburgh Pirates6-4
September 13, 2006Texas RangersDetroit Tigers11-3
May 20, 1968California AngelsBoston Red Sox5-4
May 7, 2008Minnesota TwinsChicago White Sox13-1
July 2, 2016Toronto Blue JaysCleveland Indians9-6

Global Perspective on Cycles

Hitting for the cycle is not just limited to Major League Baseball (MLB). Leagues around the world have seen their fair share of cycle hits, showcasing the universal appeal and excitement of this rare achievement.

Nippon Professional Baseball Cycles

Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) has seen 76 cycles hit through June 2022. This accomplishment highlights the skill level of players in Japan’s top baseball league. Yasutaka Shiomi most recently hit for the cycle on September 18, 2021.

Atsuya Furuta achieved this feat in an NPB All-Star Game, something yet to be seen in Major League Baseball (MLB). The rarity of hitting for the cycle in NPB underlines its status as a notable achievement similar to MLB.

Korea Baseball Organization League Cycles

In the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) League, hitting for the cycle also represents a rare and celebrated achievement.

The frequency of cycles in the KBO differs from other leagues, underscoring the unique playing styles and competitive dynamics within the league.

While specific numbers for KBO cycles aren’t as prominently documented as those in MLB or NPB, their occurrence is nonetheless an indicator of player excellence and versatility.

Unique Types of Cycles

Exploring the diverse landscape of cycle hits in baseball reveals not only the traditional achievement but also some intriguing variations that add complexity and fascination to the game.

The Natural Cycle

The natural cycle occurs when a player hits a single, double, triple, and home run in that exact order during a single game. This sequence represents the standard progression in terms of total bases.

One of the more famous instances took place on May 25, 1950, when Fumio Fujimura of Nippon Professional Baseball achieved his second cycle, making it the first recorded natural cycle in league history.

The natural cycle, happening every 13 years on average, is rarer than standard cycles but adds a layer of strategy and anticipation to the game.

The Reverse Cycle

The reverse cycle occurs when a player hits a home run, triple, double, and single in that specific order during a single game, which is particularly challenging due to its non-traditional sequence. Charles “Curry” Foley achieved the first recorded reverse cycle on May 25, 1882.

Despite its rarity, having been accomplished only ten times in MLB history, the reverse cycle garners less attention.

Luke Scott’s reverse cycle on July 28, 2006, was the first in nearly 40 years, highlighting the difficulty and underappreciation of this feat, as exemplified by Foley’s achievement.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does “hitting for the cycle” mean in baseball?

Hitting for the cycle means a player achieves a single, double, triple, and home run in one game. It demonstrates the player’s versatility and talent.

Why is hitting for the cycle so difficult to achieve?

The cycle is difficult due to the challenge of hitting a triple, which requires a perfect combination of power, speed, and ball placement.

Who were some notable players that hit for the cycle in Major League Baseball?

Notable players include Mickey Cochrane, Pinky Higgins, Moose Solters, and Luke Scott, each showcasing this rare accomplishment in baseball history.

What is a natural cycle in baseball?

A natural cycle occurs when a player hits the single, double, triple, and home run in that specific order. It is even rarer and more challenging than a standard cycle.

Can you explain the reverse cycle?

A reverse cycle is when a player hits the home run, triple, double, and single in that order. It is an uncommon and underappreciated achievement in baseball.


Hitting for the cycle stands as a testament to a player’s all-around skill and versatility. While it’s a rare and challenging feat, it continues to captivate fans and players alike, adding a unique layer of excitement to the game.

Whether it’s the traditional cycle or the more obscure natural and reverse cycles, these achievements highlight the rich history and ongoing allure of baseball.

As you follow the sport, keep an eye out for these extraordinary moments that remind us why baseball holds such a special place in our hearts. From historic legends to modern-day stars, each cycle tells a story of individual brilliance and team effort.

Witnessing a player achieve this milestone is a reminder of the timeless beauty and unpredictability of baseball.

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Pat Bloom

I lead Washington University in St. Louis' baseball team, emphasizing skill development, strategic play, and sportsmanship. Our rigorous training and competitive spirit cultivate discipline and teamwork, preparing athletes for success both in baseball and academics. We embody the determination and sportsmanship that define our university's athletics. LinkedIn

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