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Biggio's cycle 6th in Astros history
04/08/2002 11:34 PM ET
Houston's Craig Biggio hit for the cycle Monday as the Astros defeated the Colorado Rockies, 8-4. For those you who are not familiar with this term, hitting for the cycle is hitting a single, double, triple and home run in the same game. Biggio singled in the first, tripled in the third, homered in the fourth, drew an intentional pass in the sixth and completed the cycle with a two-run double in the eighth.

Hitting for the cycle is no common occurrence. Since Houston became a Major League team 40 years ago, the Astros have hit for the cycle only six times compared to nine no-hitters and eight triple plays.

Hitting for the cycle is a fascinating event. Former Yankee Bob Meusel (1920-29) hit for the cycle more than any player in American League history, completing the feat three times. In the NL, Babe Herman did it twice with the Dodgers and once with the Cubs. Herman is the only player in the modern era to have hit the cycle twice in one season, accomplishing that feat in 1931.

Hitting for the cycle in the natural order -- single through homer -- has only been done 12 times. Only six players have hit for the cycle with a grand slam. Baseball disciplinarian Bob Watson and first baseman John Olerud are the only players to have hit for the cycle in each league. Joe DiMaggio hit for the cycle twice on July 9, 1937 and then again on May 20, 1948, the longest distance between two cycles.

On June 3, 1932 Yankee second baseman Tony Lazzari hit for a natural order cycle, which was overshadowed by teammate Lou Gehrig's four-homer game, which was overshadowed by the resignation of cross-town rival N.Y. Giants manager John McGraw.

It's even rare in Japanese baseball, where since 1936, about 150 pitchers have thrown a no-hitter but only about 50 batters have hit for the cycle.

To truly give it perspective we turn to Pierre Levasseur, who in an article explaining baseball by the numbers, indicates that using historical figures there is a one in 3.8 chance of getting a single in any one at bat, one in 23.6 of getting a double, one in 58.2 of getting a home run and one in 99.8 of getting a triple. Multiplying the four figures together gives a one in 521,873 chance of hitting for the cycle in any game.

And Craig Biggio did it Monday.

Bill Chuck is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.