“A triple short of the cycle” is a classic baseball cliche, and for good reason. A player has collected a single, double and homer 242 times in 2017 alone, but entering Saturday, only six players were able to complete the set. Triples are hard, especially for a player like Jose Abreu.
Abreu came to the plate in the eighth inning on Saturday a triple short of the cycle. He’d had eight such games before, so the phrase sounded amusing and/or trite as it usually does for a man his size.
And then he tripled.
It’s the kind of unlikely effort that breathes life into a tired phrase, because it’s always possible. And when you listen to Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone urging Abreu shortly after contact, a lumbering triple is the best way to complete a cycle. A home run for a natural cycle is more triumphant curtain-call material, but when you look at these photos of a gassed Abreu ...
That feeling when you hit for the cycle: pic.twitter.com/B3s7Mz3Fp0— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 10, 2017
... maybe “Big Guy Crashing Into Third” is the peak of the art form.
“My legs weren't responding,” Abreu said. “But I'm a warrior. I have to fight through that and I did it. I'm a warrior.”
Anyway, since Abreu posted the first White Sox cycle of the broadband era, it’s a good time to round up the others.
- Date: Sept. 9, 2017 against the Giants
- Line: 4-for-5, 2B, 3B, HR, K, 3 R, 3 RBI
- Order: Homer, double, strikeout, single, triple.
Fun fact: He fouled a ball off his ankle beforehand, giving it a bit of Kirk Gibson flair.
What's incredible is that Jose Abreu tripled for the cycle the pitch after THIS happened. pic.twitter.com/mxmCQDoM1n— Phenomenal Source (@SouthSideSox) September 10, 2017
- Date: April 27, 2000 against the Orioles
- Line: 4-for-5, 2B, 3B, HR, K, 2 R, 5 RBI
- Order: Single, double, strikeout, triple, homer
Fun fact: The White Sox scored 13 runs, giving them 173 in 22 games. No other American League team had even 140.
- Date: July 6, 1999 against the Royals
- Line: 5-for-6, 3 R, 2B, 3B, HR, 3 R, 4 RBI
- Order: Single, triple, double, homer
Fun facts: Like Abreu, Singleton had to shake off an ankle problem to make it happen. It also might not have held up in the era of video review, but he was called safe on his triple, which eventually set up some classic Hawk and Wimpy in their final year.
Singleton became the first rookie to hit for the cycle since 1985, but the Sox needed a sixth hit from him in order to keep the game alive, and instead he flied out to center to end the game.
- Date: May 16, 1984 against the Royals
- Line: 4-for-5, 2B, 3B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
- Order: Double, single, home run, triple
Fun facts: The cycle broke an 0-for-18 slump for Fisk, which started after he caught the entirety of the 25-inning game against the Brewers the week before. The triple in this one also turned out to be his only one of the year.
However, a game-ending double play against Dan Quisenberry took some of the shine off it. It took a back seat to a frustrating effort in what turned out to be a frustrating season, but at least it was noted in real time. The same can’t be said for ...
- Date: Sept. 24, 1977 against the Mariners
- Line: 5-for-5, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI
- Order: Homer, double, double, single, triple
Fun fact: Remember when teams traveled to the West Coast and you had to actively seek out the results the next morning because they didn’t make the newspaper? The recap of the Sept. 24 game against the Mariners didn’t make the Chicago Tribune, and the next day’s paper didn’t get to it, either. as the paper relied on wire coverage. The bigger Sox news that day was the death of Sherm Lollar. As it stands, Brohamer is more famous for another home run he hit.
According to Brohamer’s SABR bio, before he went to the plate in the ninth inning, Lemon told Brohamer that if he reached base, he shouldn’t stop running until he got to third. .
- Date: June 27, 1922 against the Tigers
- Line: 4-for-4, 2B, 3B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
- Order: Homer, triple, single, double
Fun fact: That Brohamer and/or Lemon knew about it is notable, because according to the Baseball Dictionary, the term didn’t take hold until the 1970s or so. It certainly wasn’t in play when Schalk completed the set in 1922. Baseball was only three years into Babe Ruth as a position player, so it was still getting used to kinds of things the long ball made possible. Schalk would’ve had to wait at least 50 years for this to be a big thing.