So, I’m back.
With some very important, useful baseball analysis, because that is totally my thing.
Hanny-way, I was watching the game tonight as Ryan Hanigan (see what I did there?) was up to bat in the bottom of the 8th inning, and I realized that thus far, Hanigan had singled, walked, and been hit by a pitch – which meant he got to first base in three different ways. So, I wondered, how many times had a player singled, walked, been hit by a pitch, and reached on an error in a single game? Or, the cycle of first base, or, of course, the Uni-Cycle.
There are some other issues here, like the fact that you can also get to first by hitting into a fielder’s choice, but I’ll adjust it to ‘reaching first base without making an out’, and make that problem go away. Also, reaching on error and being hit by a pitch aren’t exactly accomplishments, like home runs, and triples. but as Chase Utley has shown us, there’s definitely a ‘skill’ in getting hit by a pitch.
In any case, according to Wikipedia, 302 normal cycles have been hit in MLB ever – when you stick it into baseball-reference’s play index tool, in comes up with 239 instances of hitting for the cycle (from 1916-2013) . In comparison, the unicycle has only been hit in that period 168 times . The other caveat is that definitely, some of those reach on errors could also end with the batter not on first, but that I’m just going to ignore, because, I want to.
The list contains a motley assortment of players – from beloved former Red Wily Taveras to Derek Jeter and Sammy Sosa. No player has ever done it three times, but several have done it twice- Albert Pujols, Bob Allison, Chuck Knoblauch, Damion Easley, Jeter, Eddie Murray, Eddie Yost, Fred Hatfield, Kenny Lofton, Mark Ellis, Minnie Minoso, Mitchell Page, and Raul Mondesi.
Only two Reds have ever accomplished the feat – Davey Concepcion in 1980, and Pokey Reese in 2000. Isn’t that just perfect? That’s baseball poetry, right there. (And they both only reached first base on the error, incidentally).
As you may know, Ryan Hanigan did not reach first base on an error last night (he walked instead), which makes this exceptionally dubious honor just out of reach for him. Thus far, Jay Bruce has been the king of reaching on errors, but Choo may be a better bet, with his recent love for getting hit by a pitch and walking. We’ll all be waiting with bated breath, I’m sure, to see which Red will be the next to hit for the Uni-Cycle.
(Also, if you didn’t already, you should watch this video of Jay Bruce’s home run last night.)