Remember last Monday when Aaron Hill hit for the fifth cycle in the Arizona Diamondbacks' short 15-year history? Well, in their 9-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night at Miller Park, Hill went ahead and hit for the sixth cycle in franchise history, and he joined some pretty elite company in the process.
By repeating his incredible achievement, Hill becomes the fourth player in MLB history to hit for two cycles in the same season.
John Reilly was the first all the way back in 1883, and is the only other player to hit two cycles within one calendar month (Sept. 12 and 19). Tip O'Neill then did it in 1887, with his cycles also coming just one week apart (April 30 and May 7). The most recent was Babe Herman in 1931 — or one Halley's Comet visit plus six years ago.
So yes, we're talking about a truly rare accomplishment here for Aaron Hill. And when you consider the rarity of the cycle (Hill's latest is the 294th) compared to the rarity of the no-hitter (272), and the short period time between the cycles, it could be considered the individual batting equivalent of Johnny Vander Meer's consecutive no-hitters back in 1938.
I said could be. That would certainly make for a fun debate.
As for Hill's path to history this time around. It began in the first inning with a double off Randy Wolf — ironically the 1,000th hit of Hill's career. He followed with a single in the third and a two-run homer in the fourth, also against Wolf. That set the stage for his history-making at-bat against Livan Hernandez in the sixth, but if you're to believe Hill, he didn't approach it any differently than he would a regular first inning at-bat.
''You can't think about it,'' he said. ''You look for a ball up and hope things work out.''
Work out they did, as he got the elevated pitch he was hoping for and then dropped it between Nyjer Morgan and Norichika Aoki in right center field. As the ball scooted past them to the wall, Hill never broke stride as he raced around second, and then beat Rickie Weeks' relay throw with a head-first slide into third to once again etch his name in the history books.
The odds overwhelmingly say no, but with 86 games left to go, I bet we'll have a night or two where we're on the edge of our seats waiting to see if he can beat those odds.
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