It's rare for a player to hit four home runs in a game. It's also rare to hit for the cycle, but it happens. Combine the two, and you get the ultra-rare "home run cycle" — a term used to describe hitting a solo home run, two-run home run, three-run home run and a grand slam all in one game.
The feat is so unheard of that it's never happened — in nearly 150 years — in Major League Baseball history. Not Barry Bonds or Babe Ruth ever managed to pull off what Arkansas slugger Danielle Gibson did back in 2019. If there were ever a "perfect game" for a hitter, it would be this.
Here's a look back at one of the rarest moments in baseball or softball history.
Danielle Gibson's Rare 'Home Run Cycle'
HR cycle ?
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 12, 2022
On this day in 2019, @RazorbackSB legend @danielleeee41 became the second DI player EVER to hit for the home run cycle, accomplishing the feat in four innings. #NCAASoftball x ? @SECNetwork pic.twitter.com/i5zRpfMR8R
— NCAA Softball (@NCAASoftball) February 23, 2023
Gibson stepped to the plate four years ago against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, not knowing she would etch her name in the NCAA record books. In the first inning, she blasted a two-run shot. She then cranked a three-run homer in the second inning and a grand slam in the third inning. In the fourth? You guessed it: the solo shot. Gibson finished with four home runs and 10 RBIs. The four-homer mark is tied for the NCAA softball record. That she did it in consecutive innings is borderline mind-blowing.
So just how rare is Gibson's home run cycle? Well, it's never happened in MLB history. It was just the second time it's happened in D-I college softball history. And to the internet's knowledge, it's only happened twice at the minor league baseball level. Chandler Redmond, a St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguer, did it last year. A journeyman minor leaguer named Tyrone Horne also did it, in 1998.
A lot of things have to go right for this to happen. The first and most obvious is that Gibson has to put great swings on four pitches. But how about the pitcher continuously serving up heaters to her? Maybe after the third home run, it's time to give her a free pass and walk her.
Gibson, who was a sophomore at the time, went on to finish her career in 2022 as a National Fastpitch Coaches Association First Team All-American with the Razorbacks. She launched 60 career home runs, four of which made her a complete rarity.
Take some of these numbers for reference:
Less people have hit for a home run cycle than have walked on the moon and crossed over Niagara Falls.
Danielle Gibson is one of them. ??? pic.twitter.com/TWtnNETtf0
— Arkansas Razorbacks ? (@ArkRazorbacks) February 26, 2019
Now that's special.
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