Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15, 1991: Lankford Hits For The Cycle

     On September 15, 1991, Cardinals outfielder Ray Lankford became the first rookie to hit for the cycle with the Birds on the Bat across his chest since Cliff Heathcote accomplished the feat for the club in 1918. The historic performance keyed the Redbirds to a 7-2 win over the New York Mets in front of more than 26,000 Cardinal faithful at Busch. Lankford's run at the record books began with a double in the first. He then singled in the third, and tripled in the fifth. Those first three hits had come against Pete Schourek who had gotten the call to start against Rheal Cormier. Schourek could not get out of that inning, as he gave up three runs, before getting the hook. On the other hand, Cormier was strong. In fact he went the distance, while Ray completed one of the greatest feats in baseball with a solo shot off of Wally Whitehurst to lead off the seventh. The cycle was complete, and Ray had scored for the fourth time that day when he touched the plate. To top things off Lankford had also snatched a bag in the contest... a little cycle bonus material. Quite the day for the kid who would call St. Louis home for more than a decade.

Check out the box score here:

     The aforementioned Heathcote was the first player in the modern era to hit for the cycle as a member of the Cardinals. With him included the feat has been accomplished 16 times by 15 different ballplayers who had the Birds on the Bat across their chests.  Outfielder Cliff Heathcote was the first man to do it, while Ken Boyer is the only man who accomplished the feat twice. It was accomplished four times pre 1900 by the club who would become known as the Cardinals when the club called themselves the Browns. In 1887, long before Boyer hit for his second cycle, Tip O'Neill picked up his second cycle, just eight days after he did it for the first time. Mark Grudzielanek is the last Cardinals player to hit for the cycle, which came on April 27, 2005.

Here is the complete list of men who have hit for the cycle as a member of the National League club that calls St. Louis home. *Note: the club joined the National League in 1892, and before that they were members of the American Association.

  • Fred Dunlap, 5/24/1886
  • Tip O'Neill, 4/30/1887
  • Tip O'Neil,l 5/7/1887
  • Tommy Dowd, 8/16/1895
  • Cliff Heathcote, 6/13/1918
  • Jim Bottomley, 7/15/1927 
  • Chick Hafey, 8/21/1930
  • Pepper Martin, 5/5/1933
  • Ducky Medwick, 6/29/35
  • Johnny Mize, 7/13/1940
  • Stan Musial, 7/24/1949
  • Bill White, 8/14/1960
  • Ken Boyer, 9/14/1961
  • Ken Boyer, 6/16/1964
  • Joe Torre, 6/27/1973
  • Lou Brock, 5/27/1975
  • Willie McGee, 6/23/1984
  • Ray Lankford, 9/15/1991
  • John Mabry, 5/18/1996
  • Mark Grudzielanek, 4/27/2005

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