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During a baseball game, a natural cycle occurs when all four of the qualifying hits in the cycle come exactly in the following sequential order: single, double, triple, home run. There may be more than four hits total, which happened with Tony Lazzeri when he collected an extra single during his hitting for the natural cycle, but the relevant four hits must be in order as described.

The natural cycle, as opposed to hitting for the cycle in general, arguably is less a contrivance than a way of acknowledging the integrity and quality of the cycle that's hit. Notably, there have been instances when a hitter, in their final at bat, did not take extra bases after getting what should have been an extra-base hit, needing specifically a single in order to obtain the last element of the cycle. This artificially creates a cycle for the sole purpose of attaining that milestone as it is indeed a rare achievement; there are only three players in Major League Baseball history sharing the record of three cycles in a career. With a natural cycle, such a contrivance is avoided by its structure of increasing total bases with each at bat.

It's widely acknowledged in baseball that a cycle is the hitter's version of the no-hitter for a pitcher, in terms of difficulty and amount of skills needed. Accordingly, the two have been achieved a comparable number of times. Similarly, the natural cycle by a hitter parallels the perfect game by a pitcher, at least in terms of frequency; the two have only been achieved in MLB history fourteen and eighteen times, respectively.[1][2]


Complete list of natural cycles hit in MLB

Player Date Team League
Bill Collins 10/06/1910 BSB NL
Bob Fothergill 09/26/1926 DET AL
Tony Lazzeri 06/03/1932 NYY AL [3]
Charlie Gehringer 05/27/1939 DET AL
Leon Culberson 07/03/1943 BOS AL
Jim Hickman 08/07/1963 NYM NL [4][5]
Ken Boyer 06/16/1964 STL NL [6][7]
Billy Williams 07/17/1966 CHC NL [8][9]
Tim Foli 04/21/1976 MON NL [10][11]
Bob Watson 09/15/1979 BOS AL [12][13]
John Mabry 05/18/1996 STL NL [14][15]
José Valentín 04/27/2000 CWS AL [16][17]
Brad Wilkerson 06/24/2003 MON NL [18][19]
Gary Matthews, Jr. 09/13/2006 TEX AL [20]



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