Foley accomplished the feat on May 25, 1882, while playing right field for Buffalo during the Bisons’ 20-1 National League crushing of the Cleveland Blues.
“The game proved a Waterloo for the visitors, and was robbed of all interest at an early stage by the terrific slugging,” an unnamed newspaper writer penned from Riverside Grounds. “Nothing like it was ever seen before.”
Hitting for the cycle involves notching a single, double, triple and homer in the same game. It’s about as rare as a no-hitter, with 304 over baseball’s history compared to 292 no-nos. Though the term “hit-for-cycle” apparently wasn’t used back then, the box score says that Foley went 4-for-6 and those hits included a double, a triple and a home run that “cleared the bases.”
Foley, who was born in Ireland, made his last appearance on a ball field in 1888 due to rheumatism. He died on Oct. 21, 1898, at the age of 42 after being bedridden for years.
“He was a very bright fellow, using superior judgment in his work,” the writer of his obituary noted. “Not only did he excel as a ball player, but he made his mark as a writer. He had a wonderful memory, and his reminiscences of feats on the ball field were most interesting and entertaining.”