Thursday, April 30, 2015

April 30, 1887: Tip O'Neill Hits For The Cycle

     On April 30, 1887, the St. Louis Browns pounded the Cleveland Blues into submission with a 28-11 beatdown that was ended after eight due to the setting sun. The game featured a historic feat, as the Browns left fielder Tip O'Neill became just the second member of what would be known as the Cardinals organization to hit for the cycle. O'Neill's seven trips to the plate included two home runs for the day. Eight days later O'Neill did it again against the Louisville Colonels. Although, he did only put one over the wall in that contest that saw the Browns prevail by the score of 12-7. The articles in the picture were both featured in the Baltimore American the day after the ballgames.

     O'Neill was one of the great players of his day. He spent 10 years in the big leagues, with seven of those years being played in St. Louis. During that time the Browns wowed the crowds with pennant winning baseball by winning consecutive American Association titles in 1885, 1886, 1887, and 1888. The 1887 season was something special for O'Neill, as he earned triple crown honors with a .435 average, 123 RBI, and 14 home runs. He also led the league with hits doubles, and triples. He hit 52 doubles that season, which was the first time a major leaguer had recorded 50 or more in a season.

     The Triple Crown performance of 1887 was just the second time a player had achieved the feat. Most historians are quick to point out the game was played under a different set of rules and walks counted as hits, so he it did have inflated numbers, however, none of them would dare to say he was not a great player from his day, and after all O'Neill did not make the rules, he simply played by them. Just think, if that game on April 30, 1887 was not called due to darkness, he may have gotten one more at bat, and could have hit another home run. A cycle with two home runs is pretty crazy. A cycle with three home runs would be insane.

Check out Tip's career numbers here:

Here is the complete list of men who have hit for the cycle as a member of the National League club that call St. Louis home. *Note: the club joined the National League in 1892. To date, only Ken Boyer has equaled the feat twice as a member of the club. 
  • Fred Dunlap, 5/24/1886
  • Tip O'Neill, 4/30/1887
  • Tip O'Neill, 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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