Mark Gubicza, color analyst for the Los Angeles Angels, called it just seconds before it happened.
“Would it surprise you right now if he went yard?” he asked play-by-play partner Victor Rojas. Rojas replied with a quick no. “Heâ€™s got a great count to take a shot at it right now.
It was 2-0. On the season, Trout was 5-for-5 with a double on 2-0 counts. Trout already lit up the box score despite starting the with a Â strike out. He reached on an infield single in the third, tripled to deep right-center in the fourth and doubled to left in the sixth. The Angels were pounding the Seattle Mariners 11-0. And then the left-handed Lucas Luetge threw what was likely ball three, a low fastball that Trout drilled 408 feet to right-center for his ninth homer of the season, just a few feet away from the season ticket seat I’ve owned since 1998. I didn’t make it to this game, though my friend that had the seat left early. Sucker.
At 21 years and 288 days old, Trout became the youngest American League player to hit for the cycle and the youngest in Major League Baseball since Mel Ott on May 16, 1929. The average wage in the United States in 1929 was $1,168. And Popeye was born.
Trout is the sixth player in Angels history to hit for the cycle and the first since Chone Figgins in 2006. Since we can count the number of Angels that reached the rare feat on one Antonio Alfonseca hand, let’s revisit whether the Angels won and when the player hit the triple, the rarest of the four hits.
Jim Fregosi, 7-28-64
Playing at Dodger Stadium, the Angels beat the New York Yankees 3-1 while Fregosi went 4-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. He tripled in the sixth.
While six players have hit for the cycle, Fregosi hit for two, so there has been seven cycles hit in franchise history. Anaheim Stadium was the setting for shortstop’s second go around and the Angels nipped the Boston Red Sox 5-4, though Fregosi needed his fifth at-bat in the eleventh inning when he singled in Tom Burgmeier to plate the winning run. He tripled in the third.
Dan Ford, 8-10-79
Another cycle, another home game for the Angels. And another extra-inning affair. Ford didn’t triple until the twelfth and needed a double in the 14th to reach the cycle, though Seattle’s three runs in the top half of the inning proved to be too much. Mariners 8, Angels 6.
Dave Winfield, 6-24-91
Batting fourth, Winfield went 5-for-5 with three RBI and three runs as the Angels beat the Kansas City Royals on the road, 9-4. Winfield tripled in the eighth. This would be Winfield’s final season as an Angel.
Jeff DaVanon, 8-25-04
The Angels skull f’d the Royals 21-6 in Anaheim and that’s not the grossest part of this story. That would be the fact that DaVanon hit sixth behind Jose Guillen and started at designated hitter, where he went 4-for-6 with four RBI. He tripled to center as part of a six-run fourth inning. The Angels won the AL West that year and DaVanon sported a .372 on-base average with a 1.7 WAR (Baseball Reference).
Chone Figgins, 9-16-06
The Angels lost to the Texas Rangers 12-6 in Arlington when John Lackey allowed six runs through four innings and Chris Bootcheck couldn’t record an out before giving up four runs on four hits and a walk. Figgins hit ninth in the lineup and went 4-for4 with three runs and an error in center field. His triple came in the ninth.
The Angels are 5-2 when a player hits for the cycle, Jim Fregosi is a franchise legend, Trout’s due for at least two more cycles (which would tied him for the most in MLB history with Babe Herman, Bob Meusel and John Reilly) and Jeff DaVanon at one point indeed received a pay check to play baseball.