#TBT: Celebrating Trout, greatest cycles in history
By Paul Casella
It was two years ago Thursday that Angels phenom Mike Trout became the youngest player in American League history to hit for the cycle.
Certainly no stranger to historic accomplishments, Trout pulled off the rare feat of hitting for the cycle at just 21 years, 287 days old. No player has ever hit for the cycle at a younger age in the AL, while Mel Ott, who was only 20 years (and 75 days) old when he hit for the cycle, holds the all-time record.
As for Trout, his record-setting day against the Mariners two years ago began in rather inauspicious fashion. The Halos slugger struck out looking on just three pitches in his first at-bat before rattling off four consecutive hits the rest of the way.
Trout picked up an infield single in his second at-bat -- then stole second base -- before lacing a triple his third time up. He later knocked out the double in the sixth inning, then completed his cycle pursuit with a solo homer in the eighth inning.
Though every cycle consists of the same basic criteria, some have certainly been more unique than others. The following is a list of a dozen of the most interesting facts and figures from past cycles.
• While Trout may be the youngest player to hit for the cycle in AL history, it's another Angels outfielder, Dave Winfield, who stands as the oldest AL player to accomplish the feat. Winfield hit for the cycle on June 24, 1991, at the age of 39 years and 264 days old -- but that wasn't the only thing that made Winfield's cycle unique. After singling twice, doubling and homering in his first four trips to the plate, Winfield tripled off Bill Pecota, a position player making his pitching debut. Typically a utility infielder, Pecota switched from first base to pitcher with the Royals trailing, 8-2, to begin the eighth inning and promptly served up the cycle-clinching triple to the first big league batter he ever faced.
• The most unheralded cycle just may belong to Yankees third baseman Tony Lazzeri. Lazzeri logged one of the most impressive cycles of all time on June 3, 1932, hitting for a natural cycle capped off by a grand slam -- and, oh by the way, he also added a stolen base for good measure. Despite all of that, the Yankees' 20-13 victory on that fateful day is often instead remembered more for the fact that teammate Lou Gehrig teed off for four home runs in that same game, largely overshadowing Lazzeri's feat.
• Tigers outfielder Hoot Evers is the only player to ever add an extra triple en route to hitting for the cycle. Evers hit not one, but two triples in addition to his single, double and home run in a 13-13 tie with the Indians back on Sept. 7, 1950.
• Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio put a unique twist of his own on his two cycles. Although DiMaggio is just one of 23 players since 1914 with multiple career cycles, he's the only player to ever hit multiple homers in multiple cycles. DiMaggio hit two homers -- in addition, of course, to a single, double and triple -- in each of his two career cycles, the first of which came in 1937 and the second in 1948.
• Only two baseball families have had multiple generations hit for the cycle -- and each family completed the feat in 2004. Daryle Ward hit for the cycle on May 26, 2004, a little less than 24 years after his father, Gary Ward, had accomplished the feat in the 1980 season. Not to be outdone, David Bell hit for a cycle of his own one month after Daryle Ward -- and more than 53 years after his grandfather, Gus Bell, had pulled it off.
• Only three players -- John Reilly, Bob Meusel and Babe Herman -- have ever hit for three cycles. Reilly, playing for the Cincinnati Reds, had two cycles just seven days apart in 1883 and a third in 1890. Meusel, an often overlooked member of the Murderers' Row Yankees, hit for cycles in 1921, '22 and '28, while Herman hit for a pair of cycles in 1931 for the Brooklyn Robins before adding another in '33 with the Cubs. While no player has tallied three cycles since, three active players -- Aaron Hill, Michael Cuddyer and Adrian Beltre -- each have two to their names.
• The seven days between Reilly's two cycles in 1883 is tied with Tip O'Neill (1887) for the shortest time between multiple cycles by the same player. As for the longest time elapsed between cycles, that record belongs to Royals Hall of Famer George Brett, who went 11 years and 57 days between his first cycle in 1979 and his second in 1990.
• As for Beltre's aforementioned two cycles, they both came at the same ballpark -- but with different teams. Beltre first hit for the cycle as a member of the Mariners in a Sept. 1, 2008, road game at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Four years later, he again hit for the cycle, this time as a member of the Rangers in his home stadium in an Aug. 24, 2012, game against the Twins. Beltre remains the only player to hit for multiple cycles in the same stadium as a member of different teams.
• Former Mariners first baseman John Olerud is also part of that two-cycle club, and he, too, accomplished the feat under strange circumstances. The triple that Olerud hit to complete his first cycle on Sept. 11, 1997, was his only three-bagger of the entire '97 season for the Mets. As if that wasn't enough, Olerud hit for another triple in a cycle with the Mariners on June 16, 2001 -- and, once again, it was his only triple of the season. In fact, the triple Olerud hit in 2001 was the only one he hit during a five-year span from 1999-2003.
• In 2010, Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez became the fifth player since 1914 to complete a cycle with a walk-off home run. After picking up a single, double and triple earlier in the game, Gonzalez clubbed a walk-off homer against the Cubs to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning on July 31, 2010. In doing so, he became the first player to finish off a cycle with a walk-off homer since Dwight Evans did so for the Red Sox in 1984. The others who have accomplished the feat since 1914 are Ken Boyer (1961), Cesar Tovar (1972) and Brett (1979), who hit a leadoff homer in the bottom of the 16th inning to lift the Royals to a 5-4 victory over the Orioles.
• The Padres and Marlins are the only two current franchises that have never had a player hit for the cycle. As for teams that have at least one cycle, the Reds are in the midst of the longest cycle drought, having not experienced one since June 2, 1989, when Eric Davis accomplished the feat.
• One last note, although it's not technically a cycle, former Major Leaguer Jerry Brooks is the only player since 1914 to hit exactly one single, one double, one triple and one homer in his career. Brooks logged only 16 career plate appearances, doubling and homering in nine at-bats in 1993 then hitting a single and a triple in 1996 after spending two years entirely in the Minors.
Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.