This Day in Baseball History: May 18th, 1931

Not to be confused with George Herman “Babe” Ruth.

On May 18th, 1931:

Babe Herman hits for the cycle.

So how many of you have heard of Floyd Caves “Babe” Herman before today? Well, I wasn’t one of them, but I imagine several of you have. Born in Buffalo, New York, Herman would move to Glendale, California with his family early in his life, but when he decided to play baseball professionally, he made another long trip, this time north, to Edmonton, Canada. Herman spent a few years with the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers farm teams, but the Brooklyn Dodgers would sign him in 1925 on the advice of a scout who said he was a mess in the field but could really hit.

The scout was on the mark. Herman, who made his debut and found steady work in 1926, could really hit. His .324/.383/.532 career line is pretty nice and his 140 OPS+ isn’t too shabby either. The first baseman/right fielder’s best seasons came in 1929 and 1930 when he hit 21 and 35 home runs, respectively, with OPS+’s of 158 and 170. However, just as the scout said, Herman wasn’t a good fielder, and he led the league in errors in 1927, and after the bank told him that someone was issuing bad checks in his name, Herman quipped, “Hit him some fly balls. If he catches any, it isn’t me.” But Herman may best be remembered for a particular double that he hit in 1926. He smashed the ball off the wall, but a slow Dazzy Vance could not make it home. The man on first had headed to third thinking anyone could make it home on a double, but caught in a run-down, Vance had to go back to third. Not paying attention, Herman came bounding around second looking for a triple. All three ended up caught at third, and the third baseman tagged all of the players to make sure he got the most outs possible (2). Herman would receive some ridicule, but he reminded everyone that he did knock in the winning run on the play.

What he is less known for but the reason he now has a special place in my heart is that he is one of two players with a major-league record 3 career cycles. On this date in 1931, Herman hit his first of three in a 14-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. Even better, he repeated the feat two months and a week later against in the Pittsburgh Pirates in an 8-7 loss. He is the only one in major-league history with two cycles in the same season. Two years, two months, and a week later, he added his third while with the Chicago Cubs in 1933. I love useless information.

Trivia Time
Who is the other player with 3 career major-league cycles?

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One Response to “This Day in Baseball History: May 18th, 1931”

  1. Josh Says:

    Bob Muesel of course!

    🙂

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