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July 1, 2012

Ask sports: When is the last time someone hit for the cycle twice in a month?

So someone hit for the cycle twice in a month? Has that ever been done before?

So someone hit for the cycle twice in a month? Has that ever been done before?

Yes, but not for more than a century.

Arizona’s Aaron Hill completed the cycle Friday night against the Brewers, just 11 days after collecting one against the Mariners in interleague play.

While cycles are nearly as rare as no-hitters (293 cycles in MLB history compared with 272 no-hitters), their frequency had increased in the past 20 years as all offensive numbers increased.

But even in that whole time no player had done what Hill had done.

Hill is first player with multiple cycles in a season since Brooklyn’s Babe Herman did it in 1931. He is only one of four players to ever achieve that joining American Association old-timers Tip O’Neill of the St. Louis Browns in 1887 and the Cincinnati Red Stockings’ John Reilly in 1883.

Only Reilly had previously hit two in a month, although O’Neill’s two came seven days apart in April and May of 1887.

Now Hill, who is 30, has the rest of his career to try to tie the career record for cycles, which is three, shared by Reilly, Herman and the Yankees’ Bob Meusel.

Cycles are nearly as statistically flukely as no-hitters in that some of the great hitters of all-time never had one, while plenty of Hall of Famers do.

George Brett holds the record for the longest time between hitting cycles: 11 years after hitting his first cycle in 1979, Brett hit for one on July 25, 1990, in the season of his final batting crown. That was Kansas City’s most recent cycle. There have been 78 cycles in the majors since then. Only Cincinnati, San Diego and Miami have not had cycles in that time period. The Reds’ last cycle came in 1989, while the Padres — who have also never had a no-hitter — and Marlins have never had a cycle. The Giants and Pirates have the most cycles with 23, while the Athletics have the most (21) for an American League team.

If you’re looking for some other obscure cycle facts, there have only been 14 hit in the natural order (single, double, triple and home run) with the Montreal’s Brad Wilkerson doing it most recently in 2003. Nine cycles have included grand slams — the Twins’ Jason Kubel was the most recent in 2009. Twenty-four cycles included an inside-the-park home run, but that hasn’t been done since World War II.

Joshua Wood

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