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Cycling through the postseason
2008-10-15 22:31
by Bob Timmermann

Wednesday night's 5-1 win by the Phillies over the Dodgers in the NLCS was the 1,223rd postseason in the majors since the AL and NL started playing the World Series in 1903. And in those games, there's been a perfect game and an unassisted triple play, yet no batter has hit for the cycle in the postseason. However, three players this year have come up one hit short of a cycle in this postseason.

Here are the close calls (and an explanation of the warning system is on the sidebar in really big print):

Yellow alerts (batter lacks a triple): As you might guess, this is the most common variety. It's happened 88 times in the postseason and twice already in this postseason (both by Red Sox players, J.D. Drew and Jason Bay).

Bay was the only one of the two with a chance to actually hit for the cycle as he had two more plate appearances against Tampa Bay in Game 2 of the NLCS after a sixth inning single. But Bay walked and struck out. Willie Stargell pulled off this feat twice in the 1979 World Series and Roy Campanella did the same in 1955.

The first World Series yellow alert was by Sam Crawford of Detroit in the 1909 World Series against the Pirates. Crawford was 3 for 4 against Babe Adams and finished off his day with a homer, but the Pirates won 8-4. Oh, and if you didn't know, Crawford is the all-time leader in triples with 309. (If I can phrase that in a more Jayson Stark-like way please tell me.)

Orange alerts (lacking a double): It's not often that someone gets the "needs a double" orange alert. It's happened just 11 times with Garret Anderson of the Angels being the last player to do it, in Game 3 of the 2005 Division Series against the Yankees. Anderson had a chance for a cycle, but in his last at bat of the game, he picked up a second single and settled for a 4 for 5 night. Scott Brosius also made an out in his last at bat in his attempt for a cycle in Game 1 of the 1999 World Series.

Paul Molitor had two orange alerts for the Blue Jays against the Phillies in the 1993 World Series. They were in Games 3 and 6. Molitor finished his career with 605 doubles, the 11th highest total in history.

Rickey Henderson had two at bats with a chance to hit a double for the cycle in Game 3 of the 1989 World Series, but made an out both times.

Elmer Smith had the first orange alert of this type in Game 5 of the 1920 World Series and he started out the day with a grand slam, then hit a triple, then a single, and then grounded out.

Orange alerts (lacking a homer): This is a little more common than its cousin and it happened as recently as Tuesday when Carl Crawford had a 5 for 5 night at Fenway Park, but couldn't get a home run. There have been 24 instances of this type of orange alert.

Milt Thompson and Devon White each had one in the epic 15-14 win by the Blue Jays over the Phillies in Game 4 of the 1993 World Series. Red Murray and Buck Herzog, both of the Giants, had orange alerts in Game 2 of the 1912 World Series, which ended in a 6-6 tie after 12 innings.

In Game 2 of the 1990 World Series, Billy Hatcher of the Reds went double, double, single, triple, and then was intentionally walked in his last plate appearance.

Vic Wertz had an orange alert in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series and in his 4 for 5 day, his only out came on Willie Mays' famous catch. Now if Mays hadn't caught the ball, it's doubtful that either Wertz could have circled the bases for an inside the park homer or if he would have batted in the 10th inning (when he doubled) as the Indians would have taken a lead in the 8th inning.

Red alerts (lacking single): Oh so close to a cycle. Two men have come up a single short of hitting a cycle in the postseason: Kazuo Matsui of the Rockies in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Phillies last year and Lou Brock of the Cardinals in Game 4 of the 1968 World Series.

Matsui had one chance to get the single to give him the first postseason cycle, but he grounded out against Antonio Alfonseca of the Phillies. Brock hit a double in his last at bat in the 8th inning, so he had no real shot at a cycle.


2008-10-16 01:17:08
1.   rbs10025
When was the last time that there was a catcher's interference call in post-season play?
2008-10-16 01:39:30
2.   Bob Timmermann
Mike Scioscia in 1985 in Game 5 of the NLCS. Darrell Porter was the catcher.
2008-10-16 10:08:26
3.   Eric Stephen
Those thick glasses probably altered Porter's depth perception.
2008-10-16 12:46:20
4.   thelarmis
gotta love The Griddle! great post.

to make it more jayson stark-like, you could address us as "friends" and maybe throw in a "folks, that's hard to do" or two... : )

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