What is Hitting for the Cycle in Baseball? (Explained)

A. Coatess

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A. Coatess



Sean Hunter

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what is hitting for the cycle in baseball

Hitting for the cycle is one of baseball’s most uncommon and impressive feats. It’s the holy grail of hitting, requiring a batter to achieve all four hits in the same game.

It’s the perfect combination of power, speed, and hitting ability. Only a few players have ever accomplished this incredible feat in Major League Baseball’s long history.

In this article, we’ll explore what is hitting for the cycle in baseball and the factors that contribute to achieving it. So grab your glove and let’s dive into the exciting world of baseball cycles!

Definition: Hit for the Cycle Meaning


In baseball terminology, hit for a cycle means achieving four hits in one game, including a single, double, triple, and home run.

Accomplishing these hits progressively in one game is known as a natural cycle in baseball.

History of Hitting for a Cycle


Hitting for the cycle in baseball terms has a history that dates back to the late 1800s. Charles “Curry” Foley was the first player to achieve this feat on May 25, 1882. Foley accomplished this by hitting a bases-loaded home run in the first inning, a triple in the second, a double in the fifth, and a single in the seventh. Interestingly, he completed the cycle in reverse natural order and amassed a total of 10 bases in six at-bats.

In 1921, the local newspaper The Tennessean used the phrase “Hitting for the cycle” for the first time. It was in reference to Hall of Famer George Sisler of the St. Louis Browns, who had hit for the cycle and set the record for total bases in a game with 12.

Since Foley, the feat has been accomplished over 300 times. Not all cycles received equal attention and recognition. For instance, Tony Lazzeri’s cycle in 1932 was barely mentioned in print as it happened during the same game where his teammate Lou Gehrig tied a record by hitting four home runs.

Components of a Hit for a Cycle

To achieve this feat, a batter must record four hits in a single game, with each hit being a different type. These hits include:


  • Single – It occurs when the batter hits the ball and safely reaches first base without any errors.
  • Double – A batter has hit the ball and reached second base safely, often by hitting the ball into the outfield or down the line to get a double.
  • Triple – It requires the batter to hit the ball into the gap in the outfield and make it safely to third base.
  • Home Run – This happens when a batter hits the ball over the outfield fence and scores a run for their team.

Analysis of Hitting for the Cycle 


Cycles in MBL have been a rarity. To hit the cycle, a player needs to hit a single, double, triple, and then a home run in one game. That’s incredibly difficult to pull off, even by the best players on the field.

It occurred 340 times only since Curry Foley achieved it in 1882. The probability of hitting a cycle in a game is less than 1%. Many players go their entire careers without achieving it.

The record for the highest number of cycles hit in a single MLB season is eight, which happened in 1933 and 2009. On April 11, 2023, Luis Arráez of the Miami Marlins achieved the most recent cycle against the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Impact of Hitting for the Cycle for the Game

Hitting for the cycle can have a lasting impact on a player’s legacy. Players who achieve this rare feat are often remembered as legends of the game, and their names are forever associated with this exceptional achievement.

When a player hits for the cycle, it usually means they have had a highly productive game, both in terms of runs scored and RBI (runs batted in). This can give their team a significant advantage, as it puts them in a position to win the game.

Another significant impact is monetary compensation. Players who hit the cycle may be given additional incentives by their agents.

Strategy for Achieving the Cycle


While hitting the cycle is relatively improbable, here are some strategies that can help increase your chances of achieving it:

  • Be versatile. Work on your basic hitting mechanics. To hit for the cycle, a player needs to be able to hit for power, hit for average, and have speed. You may need to adopt an inside-out swing when you’re facing a power pitcher.
  • Be prepared to run hard. To achieve a cycle, it is essential to have the ability to convert singles into doubles, doubles into triples, and triples into home runs. This requires speed to run hard out of the batter’s box and take assertive turns on the bases.
  • Stay focused and have a positive mindset: Hitting for the cycle requires mental focus and concentration. Always expect good things to happen in the field.
  • Take advantage of the ballpark: Some ballparks have unique dimensions that can work to a player’s advantage. For example, hitting a triple at a ballpark with a large outfield can be easier.
  • Situational awareness: You may need to adjust your approach at the plate depending on the situation in the game. For instance, if you have a teammate on base, you may have to focus on hitting a gap or driving the ball to score them.

Players Who Have Accomplished the Cycle


Hitting for a cycle is an incredibly rare achievement. Here are the notable players who nailed multiple cycles in MLB history.

Years Player League Team
1883 1883   John Reilly American Association Cincinnati Red Stockings
    1890 National League Cincinnati Reds
1921 1922 1928 Bob Meusel American League New York Yankees
1931 1931   Babe Herman National League Brooklyn Robins
    1933 Chicago Cubs
2008     Adrián Beltré American League Seattle Mariners
  2012 2015 Texas Rangers
2017 2019 2021 Trea Turner National League Washington Nationals
2018 2018 2022 Christian Yelich National League Milwaukee Brewers

A few players have hit for the cycle twice in a day. Bobby Veach and George Burns both hit the cycle on September 17, 1920. Stephen Drew and Adrián Beltré did the same on September 1, 2008.

There’s only one player who hit the cycle in the World Series. It was Brock Holt, the last Red Sox player who pulled it off against the Yankees in 2018.

Factors Affecting Hit for the Cycle in Baseball


Several factors can impact a player’s ability to hit for the cycle.

  • Skill level – Players who are good at hitting for power, have good speed, and can hit for a high average are more likely to hit for the cycle.
  • Pitching style – Some pitchers have pitches that are more challenging to hit for specific types of hits, such as a curveball that makes it harder to hit a double or a fastball that is easier to hit for a home run.
  • Ballpark size and dimensions – Smaller ballparks with shorter outfield walls make it easier to hit home runs, while larger ballparks may require more speed to hit a triple.
  • Weather conditions – Windy conditions may aid in carrying the ball out of the park, whereas hot and humid conditions can increase the number of home runs.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the difference between hitting for the cycle and hitting a home run?

Hitting for the cycle refers to a player getting a single, double, triple, and home run in a single game.

By contrast, hitting a home run occurs when a batter successfully hits a ball and then safely reaches the home plate without any errors or before the defensive team can tag them out. It does not require hitting any other types of hits.

Who has hit for the cycle the most times?

The most cycles hit in MLB history is currently three. The six players who accomplished this are John Reilly (twice in 1883 and 1890), Bob Meusel (1921, 1922, and 1928), Babe Herman (twice in 1931 and 1933), Christian Yelich (twice in 2018 and once in 2022), Trea Turner (2017, 2019, and 2021), and Adrián Beltré (2008, 2012, and 2015).

Did Babe Ruth hit a cycle?

No. Babe Ruth is undeniably a true baseball legend, but he never hit a cycle in his 22-year career. He was one of the greatest power hitters but could have been a faster runner.

Who is the last player to hit for the cycle?

It is Luis Arráez of the Miami Marlins. He hit the cycle on April 11, 2023, against the Philadelphia Phillies.

How many cycles in MLB history?

There are 340 cycles currently. Hitting for a cycle in MLB is akin to a needle in a haystack. The likelihood of pulling it off is roughly 0.149%.


Now that you know what is hitting for the cycle in baseball means, are you excited to witness this incredible feat on the field?

Hitting for a cycle involves hitting a single, double, triple, and home run in the same game. While it may seem daunting, with proper preparation, focus, and a positive attitude, any player can achieve this milestone.

So the next time you watch a game and a player hits for the cycle, remember that you’re witnessing a true rarity and a moment that will be remembered in baseball history.

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