Homerun Cycle

Last night’s Pirates game had a wild start as the Bucs plated nine runs in the first inning including Pedro Alvarez‘s first grand slam. Pedro led off the second with a solo shot to make it 10-3. When he came up for the third time and had a runner on first, I noted on twitter that Pedro [was] looking for the 2 run shot, which led to this speculation from fellow Bucco fan Tim Seibel:

“Wonder if anyone has homered for the cycle — slam + 3-run + 2-run + solo?”

Never one to turn down a good writing idea, and knowing it would be easy research, I decided to check it out. There have only been 15 four homerun games in major league history; first in 1894 by Bobby Lowe and most recently by Carlos Delgado in 2003. Only one of those fifteen has the minimum 10 RBIs needed for a homerun cycle: Mark “Hard-Hittin'” Whiten.

Whiten CF 5 4 4 12

HR: Whiten 4 (22,1st inning off Luebbers 3 on 2 out,6th inning off
Anderson 2 on 0 out,7th inning off Anderson 2 on 2 out,9th inning
off Dibble 1 on 1 out);

As you can see he hit a slam, 2 three-run homers and a two-run homer. No major league player has ever hit a homerun cycle. Some interesting notes about those four HR games:

Ed Delahanty is the only one to have at least one inside-the-park homer among his four. Records from 1896 are sketchy but indicate that he hit either two or four ITPers.

Mike Cameron hit four solo homeruns, the only confirmed four-of-a-kind occurrance.

Whiten is the only one to hit a grand slam among their four. He and Gil Hodges are the only ones not to have at least one solo shot. (Gil had three 2-run HRs and a 3-run.)

Shawn Green is the only one I can confirm had an RBI other than the ones knocked in by his home runs.

There has been one recorded HR cycle in the minors. In 1998 Tyrone Horne hit taters of every variety while playing for AA Arkansas. The next night he won the league’s Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game.

At the college level, homer cycles have happened at least twice that I could find. Once in the MIAC and once in the ACC. In 1999 Florida State’s Marshall McDougall went 7 for 7 with 6 homeruns against Maryland. He totaled 16 RBIs and 25 total bases. Yes, he was an All-American that year.

So keep your eyes open. It hasn’t happened in the big leagues yet, but every time you watch a game you’ll see something you’ve never seen before.

Update 5/9/12: Last night Josh Hamilton hit four 2 run homeruns, becoming the 16th person to make the 4 HR list and only the second to have four-of-a-kind. Interestingly, Elvis Andrus was the man on base for each homerun. Hamilton also added a double to go 5 for 5 with 18 total bases, setting the AL record.