What Is A Cycle In Baseball?

What Is A Cycle In Baseball

What is a cycle in baseball? A cycle or hitting for a cycle is a term used to represent the achievement of a batter hitting a single, a double, a triple, and a home run in the same game. If a batter collects the hits in this specific, it is referred to as a “natural cycle.” 

In Major League Baseball (MLB), 4,860 regular games are played per season. Considering the sport’s long history of over 100 years, it is reasonable to estimate that nearly half a million baseball games have been played in the last century. However, from 1882 to 2022, batters have only managed to hit the cycle 339 times, which accounts for less than 1% of all games. The most recent occurrence of a cycle in MLB took place on August 28, 2023, when José Altuve of the Houston Astros accomplished this feat.

Let’s learn more about this coveted achievement in this article. 

The History of Hitting for the Cycle in Baseball 

The study and debate surrounding the history of the cycle is a notable aspect. Due to the lack of organized record-keeping before 1920, there are numerous disputed achievements. According to some sources, Charles Foley of the Boston Red Caps was credited as the first hitter to achieve the cycle in 1882, while other historians argue that George Hall of the Philadelphia Athletics accomplished this feat six years earlier. 

During that era, fans and the media praised such accomplishments, although the term “cycle” was not yet in use. The phrase “Hitting for the cycle” was first documented in 1921 by the local newspaper, The Tennessean. It was during this time that George Sisler, a Hall of Famer from the St. Louis Browns, hit the cycle and set a record for the most total bases in a game with 12.

Hitting For The Cycle In MLB

Hitting for the cycle in MLB is considered a significant achievement since it’s not easy to make all hits in a single game. Among the challenges faced in achieving this feat, obtaining a triple is often the most difficult. Despite the difficulties, a select few players have managed to join this exclusive club. The following list includes some of the most renowned names in baseball history, spanning from the past to the present: 

  1. Joe DiMaggio – Known as the Yankee Clipper, DiMaggio accomplished the rare feat of hitting for the cycle twice, in 1937 and 1948. 
  2. Lou Gehrig – The Legendary Iron Horse also achieved the cycle twice, in 1934 and 1937. Gehrig’s remarkable career also saw him win the batting triple crown, with an impressive .363 batting average, 49 home runs, and 166 runs batted in. 
  3. Christian Yelich and Trea Turner – Both Yelich and Turner have managed to hit for the cycle three times. Yelich’s most recent achievement occurred last season against the Reds, solidifying his place among the elite players in the game.

The Effect Of Hitting For The Cycle

Hitting for the cycle not only earns a player a spot in the history books but also has a significant impact on the team’s success. A prime example of this is Brock Holt of the Boston Red Sox, who became the first player to hit for the cycle in a postseason game during the 2018 playoffs. Boston won the game 16-1. 

Additionally, hitting for the cycle can also lead to financial gain for the player. MLB contracts often include incentives based on statistical performances, and in some cases, a hitter’s agent may add financial incentives for hitting the cycle. Eric Chavez of the Oakland A’s is a prime example of this, as he hit for the cycle in 2000 and 48 hours later agreed to a 4-year $12 million contract extension with his team. It just goes to show that timing is everything in baseball, both on and off the field.

Cycle Constituents

In the game of baseball, achieving a cycle is a remarkable feat that involves hitting a single, double, triple, and home run all in the same game. Each of these hits has its own unique characteristics and importance in the game. Let’s review each hit: 


A single is the most basic hit, allowing the batter to safely reach first base without any errors or fielder’s choice. 


Doubles occur when the batter hits the ball deep into the outfield, allowing them to reach second base safely. 


These are relatively rare and require a combination of speed and precise placement of the hit to enable the batter to reach third base safely. 

Home Run

Finally, a home run is the most significant hit, resulting in an automatic score for the batter and any runners on base, and can quickly change the game’s momentum.

Which Of The 4 Types Of Hits Is Hard To Get?

The triple is undoubtedly the most challenging type of hit to achieve with a cycle. In baseball, singles, doubles, and home runs have become quite common. However, obtaining a triple requires a precisely placed hit into a corner and a base runner with exceptional speed. It is worth noting that only a mere 2% of hits in today’s game result in a triple.

Why Is It Tough to Hit for a Cycle? 

Well, first off, a hitter has to get 4 hits, which is somewhat unlikely.  Another component of this is hitting for a triple, which is also very unlikely.  Then a hitter also has to hit a home run, which for some players doesn’t happen too frequently.

Skills Needed To Hit For A Cycle

The ability to hit for a cycle requires two crucial skills: power and speed. Firstly, a player must possess enough power to hit a home run, as most players only manage to hit 10-20 home runs in a season. Additionally, the batter must have sufficient speed to potentially go for a triple, as hitters with limited speed may only hit 1-2 triples in a year. 

5 Important Tips to Hit for A Cycle

To improve your chances of hitting for a cycle, here are five tips: 

  1. Focus on making better contact with the ball
  2. Work on increasing your exit speed
  3. Develop discipline as a hitter
  4. Enhance your speed
  5. Remember to have fun

Lastly, it is important to take action and apply these tips to your training and gameplay.

Conclusion for What Is A Cycle In Baseball?

Understanding the cycle in baseball is a crucial element of the game for both players and fans alike. As we have explained in this blog post, a cycle occurs when a player successfully hits a single, double, triple, and home run all in the same game. 

Not only is it a rare accomplishment, but it also showcases an exceptional level of talent and athleticism from the player. Although cycles are statistically uncommon, they do occur throughout the season and are celebrated as one of the most remarkable individual achievements in the sport. As the game of baseball continues to progress, the cycle remains a testament to the skills and strategies employed by the players. 

Whether you are a casual fan or a dedicated follower of the game, comprehending the cycle and its significance is a vital part of appreciating what makes baseball such a distinctive and thrilling sport.

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