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|Hafner cycle makes Tribe history
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08/14/2003 4:49 PM ET
Hafner cycle makes Tribe history
By Cary Snyder / Special to MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Travis Hafner stepped to the plate in the eighth inning Thursday needing a
triple to hit for the first Indians' cycle since Andre Thornton accomplished the feat 25
His teammates, led by starting pitcher Brian Anderson, picked out spots in the Metrodome
outfield where the burly power hitter would have to drive the ball to compensate for his
Hafner delivered by launching a deep drive that went by Twins center fielder Torii Hunter
and bounced against the wall. The slugger chugged around second and slid safely into third
base, well ahead of the throw, to complete the task.
"I was just thinking, hit the ball hard, get it on the barrel and get it in the gap," Hafner
said of his mindset before clearing the biggest hurdle in the monstrous cycle. "You know,
see what happens. But I think Torii was playing a little over to left-center. It really
happened to just work out perfectly."
Hafner picked an ideal way to rebound from his four strikeout, 0-for-5 performance
Wednesday. Hafner's mother and dozens of other family and friends were at the stadium
Thursday after driving six hours from his hometown of Jamestown, N.D. for the
"That made it a little more special," Hafner said, "being close to home and playing well in
front of those guys."
The 26-year-old slugger started with a home run in the second inning by hitting the first
pitch he saw from Twins starter Brad Radke over the baggie in right field for a 1-0 lead.
He received a bit of luck from the Metrodome's artificial surface in the fourth. Hafner hit
a slow ground ball that managed to squeak up the middle for a shallow double to center
"He (Radke) made a pretty good pitch on a changeup and I kind of tried to hold up and check
my swing," said Hafner, who finished 4-for-5 with two RBIs. "This is the only place where
that's a hit with the turf, but I'll take it, definitely."
The Metrodome may have aided Hafner's accomplishment, but the Twins home park has been
stingy with cycles. Paul Molitor was the last to hit for it in the dome as a Milwaukee
Brewer on May 15, 1991.
In the seventh, Hafner beat out a ground ball in front of
the mound for an infield single to set up his decisive eighth-inning speed.
Anderson joked that someone would have to go on the DL for the 240-pound Hafner to reach the
While an injury wasn't necessary, Hafner nearly ran himself into the ground on his deep
"I don't think I could hear anything," Hafner said of his teammates congratulations after
scoring on Josh Bard's single. "I was breathing too hard."
Indians right fielder Ryan Ludwick continued to joke about Hafner's speed after the game.
"Is that really your first cycle?" Ludwick said to Thursday's biggest star. "That surprises
me, with your blazing speed."
is a contributor to MLB.com. This report was not subject to approval by Major League
Baseball or its clubs.
|Travis Hafner finished his historic day 4-for-5 with two RBIs. (Jim Mone/AP)