May 25, 1882: Buffalo's Curry Foley completes first cycle in major leagues with grand slam

This article was written by Mike Huber

The first cycle – single, double, triple, and home run – in the major leagues was accomplished by Charles Joseph Foley (also known as Curry Foley) of the Buffalo Bisons in a National League game against the Cleveland Blues on May 25, 1882. The contest was played at Riverside Grounds, the home ballpark of the Bisons. Fewer than 1,000 fans were in attendance on this cold Thursday afternoon.

The Buffalo squad had just returned from a road trip and their meeting with Cleveland was the fourth time the two teams met in 1882. Hugh Daily took to the mound for the Bisons against Cleveland’s George Washington Bradley. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, “it was a regular walk-over from the word ‘go.’”1 After Daily retired Cleveland in the top of the first inning, Blondie Purcell led off the bottom half with a single to left field. With one out, Dan Brouthers singled, and with two outs, Deacon White singled, loading the bases for Curry, who “sent the ball over the left-field fence for a home run.”2

In the bottom of the second, Buffalo sent 11 batters to the plate and they combined four singles, three doubles, and a triple (by Foley) to bring home eight more runs. The Bisons added two runs in the bottom of the third, raising their lead to 14-0. They added a run in the fifth, aided by Foley’s double, and then iced the cake with five runs in the seventh inning, in which Foley singled. Cleveland avoided the shutout by getting a run in the top of the sixth. Fatty Briody reached base on a passed ball, Fred Dunlap doubled him to third base and he scored on a fly ball by  Jack Glasscock. In this thrashing, Buffalo scored 20 runs on 28 hits. The Cincinnati Enquirer box score listed Buffalo as having 13 earned runs, while the box score in the Chicago Tribune gave the Bisons credit for 12 earned runs.

Foley was clearly the hero for the Bisons on this day. He hit a grand slam in the first inning, a triple in the second, a double in the fifth, and a single in the seventh. He had 10 total bases in six at-bats. His cycle occurred in reverse natural order.3 Foley scored four runs. The Blues’ Bradley, victim of the Buffalo onslaught, had pitched 16 shutouts for St. Louis in 1876. Every Bison in the lineup had at least two hits; Brouthers had five and Foley had four. Foley’s home run was the only one of the game. Bill Phillips and Orator Shafer each hit triples for the Blues, but neither came around to score. Buffalo’s winning pitcher, Hugh Dailey, held the Blues batters to six hits.

The Cincinnati Enquirer wrote of the Cincinnati defeat: “The game proved a Waterloo for the visitors, and was robbed of all interest at an early stage by the terrific slugging. Nothing like it was ever seen before.”4 The Chicago Tribune said, “The Buffalos today showed some of the batting ability which they seemed to have kept in store all the season, and scored twenty runs while the Clevelands were perforce constant with a solitaire.”5

In two previous seasons, Curry Foley had been a pitcher for the Bisons. During the 1882 season he played right field. He pitched once that year.6 Foley was described as “a below-average pitcher but an above-average hitter.”7 He was also one of the very few left-handed pitchers in the National League’s early seasons.

 

Sources

In addition to the sources mentioned in the Notes, the author consulted baseball-reference.com, mlb.com, retrosheet.org, and sabr.org. The author thanks Dirk Lammers of nonohitters.com for his valued assistance with obtaining box scores. In addition, I referenced the following:

Dirk Lammers, “Foley 1st to hit for cycle 132 years ago today,” http://nonohitters.com/2014/0525/foley-1st-to-hit-for-cycle-132-years-ag....

 

Entering the 2015 season, the seven players who have hit reverse natural cycles are listed below:

Player Team Date
Curry Foley Buffalo (NL) 05/25/1882
Sam Mertes New York (AL) 10/04/1904
Gee Walker Detroit (AL) 04/20/1937
Jackie Robinson Brooklyn (NL) 08/29/1948
Jim Fregosi California (AL) 05/20/1968
Luke Scott Houston (NL) 07/28/2006
Carlos Gomez Minnesota (AL) 05/07/2008

 

Entering 2015, only nine players, including Curry, have a grand slam as part of their cycle:

Player Team Date
Curry Foley Buffalo (NL) 05/25/1882
Nap Lajoie Philadelphia (AL) 07/30/1901
Bill Terry New York (NL) 05/29/1928
Tony Lazzeri New York (AL) 06/03/1932
Jimmie Foxx Philadelphia (AL) 08/14/1933
Jay Buehner Seattle (AL) 06/23/1993
Miguel Tejada Oakland (AL) 09/29/2001
Jason Kubel Minnesota (AL) 04/17/2009
Bengie Molina Texas (AL) 07/16/2010

 

Notes

1 “A Pitcher’s Heart Broke,” Cincinnati Enquirer, May 26, 1882.

2 “Buffalo 20, Cleveland 1,” Chicago Tribune, May 26, 1882.

3 A natural cycle would be single first, then double, triple, and home run. A reverse natural cycle indicates the opposite order.

4 Cincinnati Enquirer, May 26, 1882.

5 Chicago Tribune, May 26, 1882.

6 Brian McKenna, “Curry Foley,” http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/d8a0584a.