Tim Kurkjian's Baseball Fix: Why it's so hard to hit for the cycle

You love baseball. Tim Kurkjian loves baseball. So while we await its return, every day we'll provide you with a story or two tied to this date in baseball history.

ON THIS DATE IN 2000, the Rockies' Mike Lansing hit for the cycle.

Lansing did so in the first four innings of the game: triple, home run, double and single before it even became an official game. So today, we'll celebrate a cool achievement, the cycle.

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There have been 329 cycles in major league history; the Pirates have the most with 24. Adrian Beltre, Babe Herman and Bob Meusel co-hold the record with three cycles; all of Beltre's cycles came at Globe Life Park. Joe DiMaggio is the only player to hit two home runs in a cycle twice. Bob Watson, Michael Cuddyer and John Olerud are the only players in modern history (1900-on) to hit for the cycle in both leagues. Gary and Daryle Ward were the only father-son duo to hit for the cycle until last season when Cavan Biggio joined his father, Craig, with a cycle. David and Gus Bell are the only grandson-grandfather to do so.

Cavan Biggio has played 100 games, he has two triples, but he has hit for the cycle. Eric Valent played in 205 games and Bill Salkeld played in 356 games, each had two career triples, and each hit for the cycle. Yet Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds never hit for the cycle, and they combined for 451 triples. There have been nearly 15,000 instances where a player finished a triple short of the cycle, but in 2018, Chris Taylor became the first Dodger since 1920 to finish a single short of the cycle. The Red Sox's Brock Holt is the only player to hit for the cycle in a postseason game.

On this date in 2017, the Rockies' Nolan Arenado became the sixth player in major league history to complete the cycle with a walk-off home run. And on this date in 2012, the Diamondbacks' Aaron Hill hit for the cycle. Then he did it again 11 days later. At that time, only three teams had ever had two cycles in the same calendar month. The Rays and Padres have two cycles in their existence. The Marlins, born in 1993, have none.

"I hit for the cycle once in high school. My last at-bat, I needed a triple. I hit a line drive that the center fielder dove for, and missed. I wound up at third, and after the game, my dad told me, 'You should have had a home run,''' Hill said, laughing. "Two weeks before my first one (in the big leagues), in my last at-bat, I needed a double for the cycle. I said, 'Man, that would be so cool.' I took a terrible at-bat. A week later, I went to the plate the fourth time needing a home run. I thought how cool it would be, and I just started laughing and I thought, 'Hey, I just went through this. Didn't you learn anything from last week?'''

Hill hit a home run. Eleven days later, in the sixth inning in Milwaukee, he needed a triple for the cycle.

"I started laughing again, I was thinking, 'Well, this can't happen again,''' Hill said. "I'm just glad (Brewers center fielder) Nyjer Morgan didn't use all that speed and run it down. It's a cool thing, but I never reminisce about it. I've never sat down and watched both games. My son (who is 7 years old) doesn't even know what the cycle is. But, he will.''

Other baseball notes for June 18

  • In 2003, Larry Doby died. He is the first African American to play in the American League. He is a Hall of Famer -- and was a wonderful man.

  • In 1975, Red Sox outfielder Fred Lynn drove in 10 runs in a game in Detroit. That year, he would become the first player ever to win the Rookie of the Year and the MVP in the same season. Man, he had some great hands at the plate.

  • In 2002, Jack Buck died. He is one of the greatest broadcasters ever. He is the best after-dinner speaker ever. The poem he read on the field before the Cardinals' first game back after 9/11 was so powerful.

  • In 2014, Clayton Kershaw threw a no-hitter with 15 strikeouts. His final line was the only such line in major league history: 9-0-0-0-0-15.

  • In 2010, Stephen Strasburg set a record for most strikeouts in his first three major league starts with 32. A few years later, Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt asked me and John Kruk, "How does anyone ever get a hit off Stephen Strasburg?''