Brandon Barnes and the Most Unlikely Players to Hit for Cycle in Past 20 Years

Josh Schoch@JoshSchochAnalyst IIIJuly 20, 2013

Brandon Barnes and the Most Unlikely Players to Hit for Cycle in Past 20 Years

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    Brandon Barnes of the Houston Astros is known more for his work with the glove than his hitting prowess, but the 27-year-old center fielder hit for the cycle on Friday night against the Seattle Mariners.

    Barnes is one of the least likely players to hit for the cycle in history, as hitting a single, a double, a triple and a home run in the same game requires so many different tools.

    However, Barnes managed to pull off the feat, along with a few other unlikely candidates over the years.

    If guys like Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente and Babe Ruth never hit for the cycle, how did these guys do it?

Note About "Percent Chance" and "Toughest Part"

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    As a quick note, one of the major factors in this list is what I'm calling "percent chance."

    In order to calculate the chance of each player to hit for the cycle, one must calculate the percentage of games in which the player hit for the single, the percentage he hit for the double, etc.

    All four percentages are then multiplied to give the percent chance of hitting a single, double, triple and home run in the same game.

    All numbers for percentages are taken from the season when the player hit for the cycle, not the career.

    In addition to "percent chance," this list also features a category called "toughest part." This is simply any of the four types of hits in which the player hit 10 or fewer throughout the season.

    Now, on with the list!

8. Felix Pie

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    Date: August 14, 2009

    Team: Baltimore Orioles

    Opponent: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

    Percent Chance: 0.01168

    Toughest Part: Triple, Home Run


    Felix Pie was never a great hitter, batting below .250 for his career. He never hit double-digit home runs or even recorded 80 hits in a season.

    By smacking these four hits in 2009, Pie accounted for nearly 6 percent of his hits that year in '09.

    Pie didn't have great speed or power, but he had it all working for him against the Angels.

7. Pablo Sandoval

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    Date: September 15, 2011

    Team: San Francisco Giants

    Opponent: Colorado Rockies

    Percent Chance: 0.00078

    Toughest Part: Triple


    Let me start off by saying that Pablo Sandoval is a great athlete and a great guy. It's hard not to love Kung Fu Panda.

    However, it's hard to imagine Sandoval running all the way to third base unless there was a piece of cake waiting for him there.

    Sandoval did it, however, and Sandoval's cycle was a memorable one, but it's still tough to picture him running the 270 feet to third.

6. Daryle Ward

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    Date: May 26, 2004

    Team: Pittsburgh Pirates

    Opponent: St. Louis Cardinals

    Percent Chance: 0.00051

    Toughest Part: Triple


    Daryle Ward had a grand total of just five triples in his 11 seasons in the MLB. Five.

    One of those five triples came against the Cards on May 26, 2004, when he hit for the best game of his career.

    Ward's father, Gary, also hit for the cycle, making them the first father-son duo to do so in history.

5. Travis Hafner

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    Date: August 14, 2003

    Team: Cleveland Indians

    Opponent: Minnesota Twins

    Percent Chance: 0.000044

    Toughest Part: Triple


    It's hard to imagine Travis Hafner hitting a triple when he spends most of his time as a designated hitter these days. But back in 2003, he was actually a pretty good athlete.

    The 240-pound first baseman actually legged out three triples in 2003, along with his 14 home runs.

    Back then, he had the wheels to get around the bases without too much of a problem.

4. Jody Gerut

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    Date: May 8, 2010

    Team: Milwaukee Brewers

    Opponent: Arizona Diamondbacks

    Percent Chance: 0.00005

    Toughest Part: Single, Double, Triple, Home Run


    Jody Gerut only played 32 games in 2010 before his MLB career ended. However, he made those 32 games count.

    Batting .197 and slugging just .366 in 2010, Gerut managed to hit one of his seven singles, one of his four doubles, one of his two home runs and his only triple on the same day.

    To put that into perspective, if you take away Gerut's four hits from the cycle, he would have lost 29 percent of his hits that season and his batting average would've dropped 56 points.

3. Brandon Barnes

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    Date: July 19, 2013

    Team: Houston Astros

    Opponent: Seattle Mariners

    Percent Chance: 0.00005

    Toughest Part: Double, Triple, Home Run


    Brandon Barnes had never hit a triple in the MLB before Friday night, but he picked a great time to hit it.

    With just four home runs and nine doubles going into the game, he went off, proving he's better than his .232 average would imply.

    The rookie had his first four-hit game of his career against the Mariners, and it just so happens that it was one of the most unlikely cycles in the past 20 years.

2. Chad Moeller

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    Date: April 27, 2004

    Team: Milwaukee Brewers

    Opponent: Cincinnati Reds

    Percent Chance: 0.00003

    Toughest Part: Triple, Home Run


    Chad Moeller had five HRs and exactly one triple in 2004, but that didn't stop him from hitting for the cycle.

    Very few catchers have ever completed the feat, but Moeller was one of the lucky few to do so. He was just so good that the Reds didn't stand a chance, as he put on a show.

1. Bengie Molina

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    Date: July 16, 2010

    Team: Texas Rangers

    Opponent: Boston Red Sox

    Percent Chance: 0.00002

    Toughest Part: Triple, Home Run


    Bengie Molina is your typical catcher who doesn't hit or run very well, but calls a great game. However, he managed to put together the game of his life in his final year in the majors.

    One of his five home runs and his only triple came on the same day that season. He somehow scraped together a cycle despite having a 1-in-5,000,000 chance of doing so in 2010, and it was glorious.

    Molina has statistically been the most unlikely player to hit for the cycle in the past 20 seasons.