302 different players have hit for the cycle in Major League Baseball history through July of 2021.
Those men accomplished the feat a total of 332 times, beginning with George Hall of the Philadelphia Athletics way back on June 14, 1876, against the Cincinnati Red Stockings.
Jake Cronenworth of the San Diego Padres became the most recent player to hit for the cycle when he turned the trick on July 16, 2021, against the Washington Nationals.
Four players share the record for the most cycles over their careers, with three each: John Reilly, Bob Meusel, Babe Herman, and Adrian Beltre.
What Is the Cycle?
“Hitting for the cycle” means that a player collects a single, double, triple, and home run all in the same game, though those hits can come in any order. As well, a player may have other results mixed in with his cycle-building hits during the game in question.
How Rare Is It?
Compared to other unusual baseball occurrences, hitting for the cycle is a scarce commodity, but certainly not rare.
For instance, through the middle of August 2021, there have been 313 no-hitters throw in MLB history. With the frequency of no-no’s picking up dramatically in the new decade, it’s possible that they’ll pass the cycle in total numbers in the next several years.
By contrast, there have been only 21 perfect games recorded in the majors, making a perfecto about 15 times less likely than either cycles or “plain” no-hitters.
Similarly, only 15 unassisted triple plays have been recorded in MLB history, making them more scarce yet.
Topping even unassisted triple plays in terms of scarcity is the list of players who have hit two grand slams in one game — just 13 men have pulled off that feat, and Fernando Tatis hit his two salamis in the same inning for the St. Louis Cardinals (against the Los Angeles Dodgers) back in 1999.
So, while hitting for the cycle is unusual, it’s not the most scarce occurrence in baseball. That doesn’t mean it’s not exciting, though, because the whole stadium gets into it when a player comes to the plate late in the game needing just a single — or double, triple, or home run — to pull off this amazing feat.
No matter how many players have hit for the cycle, it will always be an exciting event.