Around The Bases Vol VI: Home Runs, Cycles, Near No-Hitters, New Records Set

If we thought the first week of the season was one for the books, then the 2nd week is off the charts.

In one week we saw a player open a brand new stadium with a HR, three players hit for the cycle, two pitchers, both over the age of 43, get near no-hitters, and a new record for HR hit in a new stadium. And on top of all of that, we had three funerals. Whew, what a week.

Home Run Central
The new Yankee Stadium looks like it’s going to be a home run haven. In the first four games played there, all against the Cleveland Indians, there were 20 HR hit. That sets a new record for HR in an opening series of a new ball park. The previous record was 18, hit during the first four games played at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park (March 31-April 4, 2003).

Then, just to make things even more interesting, in the first game in The House That Steinbrenner Built, the Indians scored 9 runs in the 7th inning.

In the 3rd game of the 4-game series, Cleveland unleashed a barrage of hits and runs, scoring a ridiculous 14 runs (6 HR) in the 2nd inning and 22 runs over all. The fourteen runs were the most ever allowed by the Yankees in a single inning in the entire history of their franchise. The 22 total runs ties for 3rd all-time for runs allowed by the Yankees. Ironically, the four highest scoring teams against the Yankees in their history were all Cleveland Indian teams.

Runs Opponent Date
24 at Cleveland Indians 7/29/28
23 at Cleveland Indians 9/2/02
22 vs. Cleveland Indians 4/18/09
22 vs. Cleveland Indians 7/19/87

Even stranger, the Indians now hold the record for most runs scored (individual innings) for the 1st inning (6/18/50 vs Phi, 14), the 2nd inning (Sat vs Yankees, 14), the 3rd (8/7/1889 vs Wash, 14), and the 6th (7/7/23 vs Bos, 13).

Do Three Cycles In A Week Make A Tricycle?

Anytime a player hits for the cycle, it’s exciting. But it’s really not as uncommon as one would think. Since Curry Foley hit for the first recorded cycle while playing for the legendary 1882 Buffalo Bisons, there have been 244 players hit for the cycle a total of 266 times. Both Bob Meusel (New York Yankees, 5/7/21, 7/3/22, 7/26/28) and Babe Herman (Brooklyn Robins, 5/18/31, 7/24/31, and Chicago Cubs, 9/30/33) did it three times.

20 players have done it twice in their careers:

Ken Boyer St. Louis Cardinals 9/14/1961
  St. Louis Cardinals 6/16/1964
George Brett Kansas City Royals 5/28/1979
  Kansas City Royals 7/25/1990
Cesar Cedeno Houston Astros 8/2/1972
  Houston Astros 8/9/1976
Fred Clarke Pittsburgh Pirates 7/23/1901
  Pittsburgh Pirates 5/7/1903
Mickey Cochrane Philadelphia Athletics 7/22/1932
  Philadelphia Athletics 8/2/1933
Joe Cronin Washington Senators 9/2/1929
  Boston Red Sox 8/2/1940
Joe DiMaggio New York Yankees 7/9/1937
  New York Yankees 5/20/1948
Bobby Doerr Boston Red Sox 5/17/1944
  Boston Red Sox 5/13/1947
Jim Fregosi Los Angeles Angels 7/28/1964
  California Angels 5/20/1968
Lou Gehrig New York Yankees 6/25/1934
  New York Yankees 8/1/1937
Chuck Klein Philadelphia Phillies 7/1/1931
  Philadelphia Phillies 5/26/1933
John Olerud New York Mets 9/11/1997
  Seattle Mariners 6/16/2001
Jimmy Ryan Chicago Colts 07-01-1891
  Chicago White Stockings 07-28-1888
George Sisler St. Louis Browns 8/8/1920
  St. Louis Browns 8/13/1921
Chris Speier Montreal Expos 7/20/1978
  San Francisco Giants 7/9/1988
Arky Vaughan Pittsburgh Pirates 6/24/1933
  Pittsburgh Pirates 7/19/1939
Bob Watson Houston Astros 6/24/1977
  Boston Red Sox 9/15/1979
Wally Westlake Pittsburgh Pirates 7/30/1948
  Pittsburgh Pirates 6/14/1949
Frank White Kansas City Royals 9/26/1979
  Kansas City Royals 8/3/1982
Brad Wilkerson Montreal Expos 6/24/2003
  Washington Nationals 4/6/2005


Looking at the history of this still amazing feat, you can see some pretty interesting things. For example, last week, when Orlando Hudson (4/13, Dodgers), Ian Kinsler (4/15, Rangers), and Jason Kubel (4/17, Twins) each hit for the cycle, it marked only the 3nd time in history that three players hit for the cycle in the same week.

The only other times this occured was in 1970, when it was accomplished by Tony Horton (7/2, Indians), Tommie Agee (7/6, Mets), and Jim Ray Hart (7/8, Giants). Then it was done again just last season by the trio of  Cristian Guzman, (8/28, Nationals), Adrian Beltre (9/1, Mariners), and Stephen Drew (9/1, Diamondbacks). 

When Beltre and Drew hit for the cycle on the same day, it marked only the 2nd time in major league history that happened.  The first time was on 9/17/20, when both George Burns (the player, not the actor) and Bobby Veach did it.

If you’re curious about which team has the most players to hit for the cycle, it would be the Pittsburgh Pirates with an amazing 22. Next would be the NY/SF Giants (21), then the Red Sox (19), then the Phi/Oak Athletics (17), then the Cardinals (16). Intersestingly, with all of the amazing hitter the Yankees have had throughout the history of their franchise they rank 6th on this list with 14, but that includes the game by Bert Daniels for the 1912 Highlanders.

For argument sake, let’s compare that to four HR games. Now there’s a rare feat. In all of baseball history, there have been only 15 four HR games, and none since Carlos Delgado did if while playing for the Blue Jays in ’03.

There are even fewer four HR games than perfect games. There have been 17 perfect games thrown in baseball history. The last on May, ’04 by Randy Johnson, against Atlanta, when he was still on the Diamondbacks.

Old Men Can’t Jump, But They Can Still Throw
In the past week, we almost saw two no-hitters. On Thursday, 42 year old Red Sox knuckler Tim Wakefield took a no-hitter into the 8th inning against Oakland, until it was broken up on a single by Kurt Suzuki with a runner on first. Wake finished the game and ended up with an 8-2 win. Then, on Sunday, 45 year old Randy Johnson took a no-hitter into the 7th inning. It was broken up by Arizona shortstop Augie Ojeda, opened up the 7th inning with a double. The win was number 296 for Johnson, putting him only four wins away from the magic 300.

New Stadium, New Record
On Friday, the New York Mets opened their brand, spankin’ new stadium, Citi Field against the San Diego Padres. Padres’ centerfielder Jody Gerut opened up the game with a HR. In doing so, he became the first person in major league history to christen a new stadium with a HR as the game’s leadoff hitter. This is a remarkable statistic when you think about how many stadiums have opened in the past 125 years. Incredibly, Gerut’s new record will never be broken, only tied.

Final Farewells
Sadly, during the past week we mourned the loss of three people, two of which who had a significant impact on the game we love and the third never had the chance to. We say our final farewells to:
Angels’ rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart, who was killed in a senseless car accident where he was hit by a drunk driver. Adenhart had pitched the best game of his all too short career just hours before.

Phillies long-time broadcaster Harry Kalas, who had such an impact on the city of Philadelphia that the team had to have a public viewing at Citizen’s Bank Park on Saturday where 9000 fans walked by his casket to pay their final respects. Kalas died in the broadcaster’s booth last Monday while preparing for the Phillies – Nationals game in Washington.

Detroit All-Star pitcher Mark “Birdman” Fidrych, who was killed last week when the dumptruck that he was working on fell on him and he became enmeshed in the gearing mechanism. Fidrych will always be remembered for not only psyching himself up by walking around the mound and talking to the ball, but also for his great pitching talents. In 1976, he went 19-9 with a 2.34 ERA and 24 complete games while on his way to winning the American League Rookie of the Year. That season, he also became only the 2nd rookie in history to start an All-Star Game.