Bicycle History

Stephen Drew and Adrian Beltre both hit for the cycle last night marking only the second time in baseball history that two players hit for the cycle on the same day. The previous occurrence was also in September, the 17th in this case, way back in 1920 with George Burns of the Giants and Bobby Veach of the Tigers.

Dave Cameron mentioned this morning about the similarities between Adrian Beltre and Stephen Drew as hitters. Well, it just so happens that Veach and Burns followed coincidentally similar career paths as hitters as well.

George Burns was enjoying what would be one of his final few productive seasons back in 1920. Breaking in as a regular in 1913, Burns consistently posted above average OPS numbers as an outfielder thanks in part to excellent walk totals peaking with 101 in 1923, but come his 30s and the burgeoning era of power during the 1920s, Burns would find himself out of a regular job by 1924 and out of baseball entirely after 1925 at the age of 35.

Bobby Veach suffered a similar fate as to that of Burns. Also breaking in as a regular in 1913 as an outfielder, Veach had more power than his counterpart in New York with similar, though less prolific, on base skills. After a successful decade and change with the Tigers, Veach was purchased away by the Red Sox in 1924 at age 36 and promptly had the worst season of his career, which is note-worthy because even then he managed to post a .295/.359/.426 line, good for a 102 OPS+. Veach then bounced around with the Yankees and the Senators in 1925 and despite posting a combined 105 OPS+ that season he, like Burns, would not play again.

All in all, for two players that shared no other connections beside being the only players to ever hit for the cycle on the same day (until yesterday), Veach and Burns shared a funny number of likenesses.

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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

4 Responses to “Bicycle History”

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  1. Chris Miller says:

    Awesome!!!!! Matthew, are you a regular now? If so Fangraphs is now my #1 daily stop, not that it’s not at least a daily stop.

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  2. Tom Au says:

    Fangraphs is a daily stop,arguably my #1 (non professional) daily stop.

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  3. Yep, Matthew has joined FanGraphs as a regular writer! We’re quite happy to have in on board too. :)

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  4. That’s what’s gonna happen when no one does anything regarding it.

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