In more than 1,700 games in major league baseball this season, not a single player had hit for the cycle until Thursday.
We were due.
We know that because of an intriguing article in the spring issue of Baseball Research Journal, a publication of the Society for American Baseball Research.
The article, co-authored by SABR members Michael Huber and Allison Davidson, is the result of exhaustive research into almost every aspect of the baseball feat known as the cycle, the term commonly used to describe one player getting a single, double, triple and home run in the same game.
According to Huber and Davidson, there had been 319 cycles in 214,651 major league games entering this season dating back to 1976. That means it happens roughly once every 673 games.
So, we should have had at least a couple already this season. We didn't have any until Boston's Mookie Betts finally collected one last Thursday.
There were seven cycles in the major leagues last year (one short of the record) with the last player to do it before Betts being Jose Abreu of the White Sox on Sept. 9.
Among the other nuggets in the SABR piece:
— The term cycle was first used in print in 1921 in the Tennesseean newspaper, but it didn’t come into common usage until the late 1930s.
— The record for most cycles in a season is eight, in 1933.
— The career record for cycles by one player is three, shared by four players — Babe Herman, Bob Meusel, John Reilly and Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre.
— There have been 15 “natural’’ cycles in which a player gets a single first, followed by a double, triple and home run in that order.
— The most common order is home run, double, single, triple.
While cycles have been scarce in the majors this season, they’ve been a bit more common in the minors. Just last week, two players on the same team — Kevin Newman and Jacob Stallings of the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians — accomplished the feat in the same game, collecting the final hit in the same inning.
While on vacation last week, I attended a game between the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field and was reminded why I don’t often pay money to sit in the stands to watch major league games.
A gentleman in the row behind us, who seemed to be on a first-name basis with all the Bud Light vendors, decided he was going to try to intimidate Padres right-fielder Hunter Renfroe.
“Renfroe, you suck!’’ he bellowed. “Renfroe, you suck! You belong back in Triple-A, Renfroe! That’s how much you suck, Renfroe! You really suck, Renfroe!’’
Bear in mind, we were seated in the right-field corner, perhaps 200 feet from Renfroe, surrounded by a crowd of more than 40,000 people. Renfroe couldn’t have heard him if he had Clark Kent’s hearing.
But he kept going.
For several innings.
“Renfroe, you suck!’’
Along about the fifth inning, he began calling him Henfroe. It wasn’t a conscious choice. It was the beer.
He finally shut up about the seventh inning. Also the beer, I suspect.
It was an experience you just can't get sitting in your recliner in the family room watching the games on television.
You may have heard that the proposed college football bowl game to be played at Wrigley Field — which was a pretty dumb idea to begin with — has fallen through.
However, the Chicago area won’t be completely shut out of the bowl scene. The suburb of Elk Grove Village has agreed to become the title sponsor of the Bahamas Bowl. The town’s business slogan is "Makers Wanted," so it’s going to be the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl.
Really. Honest. We can’t make this stuff up.
The Las Vegas oddsmakers already are taking wagers on where LeBron James Jr. will play his college basketball. The overwhelming favorite is Duke.
Did we mention that Prince James is only 13 years old and about to enter the eighth grade?
He won’t be ready for college until 2023, when Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski will be 76.
If the kid is that good, he probably won’t even go to college. By the time he’s ready, it’s likely they will have changed the rules requiring players to attend college for one year before leaping into the NBA.