In the 47 year history of the San Diego Padres, no player had ever hit for a cycle. For those that aren’t aware, a cycle is reaching base via a single, a double, a triple and a home run, all in the same game. It is a feat that is rarely accomplished, but it had been a statistical anomaly that the Padres franchise had failed to have at least one player do it. Now the Miami Marlins are the only Major League franchise yet to have a player hit for the cycle.
It took the Padres team 7, 444 games to hit for a cycle, even though the team has had many productive hitters in its history. Dave Winfield, Nate Colbert, Tony Gwynn, Ken Caminiti, Greg Vaughn and Adrian Gonzalez were all great hitters, but they never were able to hit for a cycle as a Padres player. The game of baseball is unpredictable and the surprises never end. Right when you think you have an idea about the game, you are shocked by something new.
There have been plenty of times in which the Padres were close to achieving a cycle. Tony Gwynn most noatably oppourtunity was on June 10th 1993, when then manager Jim Riggleman took Gwynn out when he was a single short of a cycle. It was the 6th inning and the Padres were on the way to a 14-2 beating of the Dodgers. Riggleman was unaware that Gwynn only needed a single and that was probably Tony’s best chance at it. Sad but he was never given that opportunity to make Padres history. In total Gwynn was one hit short of a cycle 22 times in his elustrious Padres career. It just wasn’t meant to be for Mr. Padre.
It is rather fitting that Matt Kemp got the first cycle in franchise history. He has been the source of constant scrutiny since his December trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Yasmani Grandal made the 2015 National League All-Star team and had a great first half. A ton of Padres fans were immediatly crying foul and were angered by Kemp’s slow start. He has since picked it up and in reality he has been the teams best hitter since the All-Star break. Matt Kemp has shown Padres fans what he is capable of, but the critics are still there. Perhaps this will silence them for a bit.
361 times a Padres player has finished the game one hit short of a cycle. 258 times a Padres player has been a triple shy. It was fitting that the cycle was accomplished in Colorado, as Coors Field is commonly known as a hitters ballpark. This moment is one of the best in Padres history and it would have been sweeter if it had happened at Petco Park in front of a home crowd. The fact it happened at all is a fantastic feat and the feeling of it is pretty sureal for Padres fans.
After the game, Matt Kemp spoke about the night…
“Its hard to believe. All those great hitters that have been here, like Tony Gwynn and all those guys, haven’t been able to hit for a cycle… I’m just glad to be able to do it”
A great night for the Padres outfielder. He will always go down as the first Padres player to hit for the cycle. Something that seems unattainable at times, but in the end happened faster than most could appreciate it. Just like the game of baseball for it to be that way. The fact the team has broken one of it’s jinx bodes well for the change of culture that is needed to take this team from being a pretender to a perennial contender.