On April 27, 2005, Grudzielanek, a second baseman in his lone season with St. Louis, became the 15th Cardinal to hit for the cycle, collecting a home run, triple, double and single against the Brewers at Busch Stadium II.
Grudzielanek is one of three Cardinals to hit for the cycle at Busch Stadium II, the team’s home from 1966-2005. The other two to do so _ Lou Brock in 1975 against the Padres and Ray Lankford in 1991 versus the Mets _ also batted leadoff in those games.
A right-handed batter, Grudzielanek was the first Cardinal to hit for the cycle since John Mabry did it against the Rockies at Denver in 1996.
Mabry, a reserve with the 2005 Cardinals, witnessed Grudzielanek’s performance. “I was hoping for him to get it,” Mabry told MLB.com. “They say it’s more rare than a no-hitter. It’s special.”
The cycle by Grudzielanek was the 16th in Cardinals history. Ken Boyer is the only Cardinal to achieve the feat twice (in 1961 and 1964). Joining Boyer, Brock, Lankford, Mabry and Grudzielanek as Cardinals who hit for the cycle: Cliff Heathcote (1918), Jim Bottomley (1927), Chick Hafey (1930), Pepper Martin (1933), Joe Medwick (1935), Johnny Mize (1940), Stan Musial (1949), Bill White (1960), Joe Torre (1973) and Willie McGee (1984).
Top of the order
Shortstop David Eckstein normally batted leadoff and Grudzielanek sixth for the 2005 Cardinals. When manager Tony La Russa rested Eckstein against the Brewers on April 27, he put Grudzielanek in the leadoff spot against right-hander Victor Santos. Grudzielanek entered the game 7-for-16 (all singles) in his career versus Santos.
In the bottom of the first, Grudzielanek led off with a home run. He singled in the second.
With Santos still pitching, Grudzielanek hit a RBI-double in the fourth.
“It seemed like everything I threw to him he was right on it,” Santos said to the Associated Press. “As soon as I made a mistake, boom, he was right on it.”
To complete the cycle, Grudzielanek needed a triple, or “the baseball equivalent of making an inside straight,” wrote Matthew Leach of MLB.com.
In his previous three seasons with the Dodgers (2002) and Cubs (2003-04), Grudzielanek had produced a total of two triples.
Facing left-hander Jorge De La Rosa in the sixth with one out and the bases empty, Grudzielanek said, “I was just trying to come up there and have the same approach that I did the previous at-bats and try to hit the ball hard.”
De La Rosa got two strikes on the batter. Then, Grudzielanek sliced a shot down the right-field line. The ball eluded right fielder Geoff Jenkins and rattled into the corner. Grudzielanek steamed into third with the coveted triple.
In the eighth, Grudzielanek grounded out against left-hander Tommy Phelps. He finished 4-for-5 with 3 runs and 2 RBI in a 6-3 Cardinals victory. The win boosted the Cardinals’ record to 14-5, their best start since the 1968 team had the same mark. Boxscore
Grudzielanek batted leadoff just six times in 2005, hitting .381 (8-for-21). Overall, he hit .294 for the 2005 Cardinals with 155 hits in 137 games.
Previously: Mark Grudzielanek fit a need for 2005 Cardinals