The Curious Case of the Padres Cycle

Everth Cabrera last night became the 344th Padre to get within one hit of hitting for the cycle.

And with his single in the Bottom of the 9th, he became the 344th Padre to come up one hit short.

The Padres have existed since 1969 which makes this the 44th season in franchise history. And in 44 years, not one player has been able to hit a single, double, triple and home run in one game. Not once. In that same time frame, there have been 133 cycles in MLB.

But man have they been close. A few more notable close calls:

June 10, 1993 vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Tony Gwynn missed the cycle by one hit 22 times. On June 10th, in a game the Padres would win 14-2, Gwynn hit a HR in the 3rd, a Double in the 5th, and a triple in the 6th. This left only a single required, a feat that would seem more than plausible considering Gwynn is the best singles hitter in baseball history. Unfortunately, Jim Riggleman either didn’t know the Padres infamous history with the cycle, or simply didn’t care. Because Tony Gwynn was removed in the Top of the 7th by Phil Clark.

June 13, 2006  vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Mike Cameron seems the prototypical player to hit for a cycle. Speedster with power. Cameron reached base in the 1st due to a throwing error. Then in the 2nd took an 0-1 pitch deep to CF for a double. In the bottom of the 4th he went deep again to CF, this time for a triple. Cameron gets the HR in the 5th inning. Unfortunately, Cameron only got one more at-bat in this game. A walk on 5 pitches.

October 3, 1972 vs San Francisco Giants

Enzo Hernandez, the Venezuelan born “all-field, no-hit” shortstop, hit 2 HRs in his 8 year career. But one of those HRs came on October 3 in the 4th inning. By time he had likely stunned his teammates with this sudden display of power, he had already tripled and singled leaving him only a double short of the elusive cycle. After grounding out in the 6th inning, Hernandez got one more shot in the Top of the 9th. But, Cabrera last night, Hernandez singled to CF, falling a double short of the cycle.

August 18, 2004 vs Atlanta Braves

Falling a single short of the cycle seems just a bit more painful. It would seem to be the easiest of the 4 necessary hits to achieve. Brian Giles, in 2004, came up one single short though it wouldn’t be known he was a single short until after he had hit his double in the 9th. Giles checked the tougest of the four, the triple, off the list in the 1st inning after taking a 3-2 pitch from Paul Byrd to deep RF. He walked in his next at-bat but in the 5th he took the first pitch he saw deep for a HR. But in the 7th, after Mark Loretta doubled in front of him (and the Braves down 2 runs), the Braves intentionally walked Giles (sidenote: to get to Phil Nevin…burn). Giles got the double in the 9th, with the Padres now trailing 6-5. He remained on 2nd as the tying run, avoiding any chance of another at-bat in extra-innings.

September 21, 2006 vs Colorado Rockies 

The triple is widely regarded to be the toughest part of the cycle to get. You could argue that from a pure excitement and entertainment level, nothing in baseball beats the triple. By the end of the 3rd inning, Dave Roberts already had the single and the triple done. In the 4th inning Dave Roberts ran into a pitch from Mike Esposito, driving it to deep RCF. But it didn’t carry and Roberts had his 2nd triple of the game. Roberts got the double in the 6th inning leaving him only a HR short. But he walked in his next and last at-bat, falling short.


This is only a sampling of the 344 times the Padres have been within one hit of the cycle. It shouldn’t matter, of course. It’s a random collection of hits that we’ve determined is more important than any other collection of 4 hits. Wouldn’t it be better to have a guy hit 4 HRs? Or 2 triples and 2 HRs? Cameron hit for the “pseudocycle” in that instead of a single he got a walk. Why doesn’t that count just the same? I don’t know. But I know I care. I hate being the team that doesn’t have a cycle. 

Baseball Prospectus tells us that, statistically, the Padres should have had 5 cycles by now. That stat is made more frustrating when you look at the amount of Padre players that have hit for a cycle prior to or after their time in San Diego.

Every day it doesn’t happen it becomes more unlikely that it hasn’t. Which would seem to mean that it’s more likely than ever every day that a cycle is coming. One day, Padres fans. One day.


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