A Horne of plenty

Gates_90.jpgBy Jim Gates

Following last week’s blog on the rare 6-for-6 cycle by Ian Kinsler of the Texas Rangers, I was asked if anyone had ever hit for the home-run cycle. The answer is yes, but not in the Major Leagues.

First, what is a home-run cycle? It is when one batter hits a solo, two-run and three-run homer in a game in addition to a grand slam. Hitting four home runs in one game is difficult enough, but the home-run cycle obviously requires the substantial cooperation of your teammates.

5-21-09-Gates_HorneBat.jpgAlthough there are stories of home-run cycles being accomplished at the youth, high school and collegiate levels, only one batter is known to have achieved this feat as a professional ballplayer. On July 27, 1998, Tyrone Horne of the Double-A Arkansas Travelers in the Texas League stroked a two-run shot in the first inning, a grand slam in the second, a solo homer in the fifth and finished off the night with a three-run blast in the sixth inning. Not a bad night at all.

“I hadn’t realized I’d homered for the cycle at first. I’d never even heard of homering for the cycle,” Horne recalled almost a decade after the event.

Known for having some power, Horne hit 37 home runs for the Travelers in 1998 and posted a batting average of .312. He spent 13 years playing Minor League and independent league baseball before a ruptured disc in his neck forced him to retire from active play.

Although Horne never made it to The Show, he donated his bat from the home-run cycle to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, where it now resides along with other artifacts of baseball history.

This just proves that on any given night, almost any player can catch lighting in a bottle. He can perform a little magic and achieve something never before seen on the baseball diamond. You don’t have to be a superstar to make the game special or to make it into the record books. Just ask Tyrone.

Jim Gates is librarian of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library.

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