No-hitters and hits for the cycle used to happen with about the same frequency, as the two rare feats once shared a brotherly camaraderie. Then suddenly, as we hit the 2000s, cycles began appearing at a 1.6-to-1 ratio, far surpassing the pace of no-hitters. What happened?
On Friday night, the Minnesota Twins’ Jorge Polanco completed the first cycle of the 2019 season (and the 325th in major-league history), hitting a triple in the first inning, a single in the third, a homer in the fifth and a double in the seventh against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Meanwhile, no-hitters are holding steady at 299, falling behind by 26 feats in a contest that has always been considered a pitchers’ duel.
The 1800s saw 42 cycles and 42 no-hitters, and no-nos slightly edged out cycles in the 1900s by a score of 206-203. Then all hell broke lose.
Cycles jumped early on the new millennium scoreboard. Pitchers couldn’t toss a single no-no in 2000, as hitters took a 5-0 lead on cycles by the Chicago White Sox’s Jose Valentin, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Jason Kendall, the Colorado Rockies’ Mike Lansing, the Oakland Athletics’ Eric Chavez and the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Luis Gonzalez.
Three pitchers managed to toss no-nos in 2001 (the Boston Red Sox’s Hideo Nomo, the Florida Marlins’ A.J. Burnett and the St. Louis Cardinals’ Bud Smith), but cycles managed to put up another five-spot, with the Detroit Tigers’ Damion Easley, the Seattle Mariners’ John Olerud, the Houston Astros’ Jeff Bagwell, the Toronto Blue Jays’ Jeff Frye and the Oakland Athletics’ Miguel Tejada all completing their quests
Even when pitchers in 2012 tried to make it a game by responding with an MLB record-tying seven no-hitters, cycles didn’t yield much ground. The 2012 seasoned featured the New York Mets’ Johan Santana tossing the franchise’s first-ever no-hitter, perfectos by the Chicago White Sox’s Philip Humber, the San Francisco Giants’ Matt Cain and the Seattle Mariners’ Felix Hernandez, and plain-old no-nos by the Los Angeles Angels’ Jered Weaver, a Seattle Mariners tandem and the Cincinnati Reds’ Homer Bailey.
Cycles responded with one by the New York Mets’ Scott Hairston, two in the same month by the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Aaron Hilland one by the Texas Rangers’ Adrián Beltré.
As of Friday night’s cycle by Polanco, the 2000s score sits at an 80-51 blowout.
I’m trying to figure out a valid reason for this, but both no-hitters and cycles are random oddities and there probably is no explanation. Any thoughts?