Monday, July 16, 2007

Is there such thing as a "perfect cycle?"

A couple of minor leaguers had a couple of big nights yesterday. Guillermo Moscoso threw a perfect game for Oneonta - only the second nine-inning perfect game in New York-Penn League history. Meanwhile in the Appalachian League, Greenville's Jhaysson Agustin hit for the cycle.

The Dugout is searching to figure out how many times, if ever, players have combined to hit for the cycle and throw a perfect game in the same day.

It also begs the question, which accomplishment is more impressive? Those who favor pitching will obviously lean toward the perfect game. That’s where The Dugout sides. Both accomplishments take luck. Moscoso struck out seven. For the 20 other outs, he needed to rely on at least one other teammate to make a play. The Dugout remembers watching a game in the 1970s where a Bill Russell error cost Jerry Reuss a perfect game.

A cycle often requires something lucky, like misplayed ball by an outfielder.

Baseball Almanac’s web site shows that only 17 pitchers have been perfect in the major leagues, while the Athletics alone have seen a hitter go for the cycle the same amount of times. Only 14 cycles in major league history were of the “natural” variety (single, double triple and home run are hit in order), making them rarer than perfect games.

Still, they can hardly be considered the more important accomplishment. A nine-inning perfect game essentially ensures victory. That’s what is most important, right? (Note: Two pitchers have been perfect through nine only to see their teams lose in extra innings. Those games are not considered “official” perfect games.)

Just a thought: Can we start calling a four homerun game the Barry Bonds cycle?

The unseen derby: A couple of days ago The Dugout wrote about last week's Eastern League Home Run Derby and All-Star game, both of which were affected by Connecticut fog.

The Dugout had the opportunity to ask Reading’s Mike Costanzo, a participant in the derby, how bad the conditions really were. Costanzo, who hit 17 homers before the break, failed to connect during the derby – at least as far as he knows. Pictured at the top of the page following Wednesday’s Reading game, Costanzo laughed about the experience.

During the home run derby:
“We were right behind the plate and we were like, did it go out? You would hear the ball hit the second wall for a home run, but some of them came back in (and didn’t count). A guy hit one that was a ground rule double and they counted it.”

About the game conditions:
“I was surprised they started it and it got worse and worse by each inning. The ball was hit to right field and the guy was running the wrong way. We were like, we can’t play this game anymore.”

About the night:
“I had a blast. It was a really cool experience. It was pretty awesome being around there.”

1 comment:

michael said...

just stumbled across this when i was looking for an answer to the same question. one of my classmates sparked my interest, actually.

here's one instance of the perfect game and a cycle