Today in Philly Sports History: David Bell Hits For the Cycle, 2004


David Bell might not have done terribly much during his stay in Philadelphia to separate himself from the legions of stopgap third basemen the Phillies have trotted out over the last few decades, but he had his moments--especially during a 2004 season that saw him hit .291 with 18 homers and a fairly above-average .821 OPS. Perhaps the finest of these moments came on June 28th, 2004, when in a game against the Montreal Expos, Bell doubled, homered, singled, and in the bottom of the seventh, legged out a triple to become the first Phillie to hit for the cycle since Gregg Jeffries did it in 1995. He also even drew a walk against Expo starter Sun-Woo Kim, ultimately going 4-4 for the day with six total RBIs. In doing so, Bell also became part of the first grandfather-grandson cycle-hitting tandem in baseball history, with grandpappy Gus Bell having done so in 1951 for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"I didn't realize what had happened until I got to third base," said Bell of his seventh-inning triple. "I haven't had too many triples and it's kind of rare on a night when I had three other hits. I probably would have thought of it, if I had a triple earlier in the game. I think it's just rare. You're trying to make hits and win the game. Then you realize it's something that just doesn't happen very often." Manager Larry Bowa agreed: "The way David runs, I don't think that's going to come up too much...I mean, David's legs were moving real fast. When you're not real fast, cycles are hard to achieve. Cycles are even rarer than no-hitters." Indeed, the triple was the only one Bell would hit in 2004, and one of just four total he would claim in his three and a half seasons in Philadelphia. (However, Bowa should have checked his sources about cycles being rarer than no-hitters, as they currently outnumber them 287 to 256 in MLB history).

Largely due to Bell's performance, as well as homers by Pat Burrell and then-backup 2B Chase Utley, the Phillies would go on to win the game 14-6, bringing them to 39-35 and keeping them in a tie with the Florida Marlins for first place in the NL East. Bell would eventually be traded to Milwaukee for a scrub minor league pitcher in 2006, at which point the Phillies floundered for a season and a half at third base with an ungodly combination of Abraham Nunez, Wes Helms and Greg Dobbs, eventually solidifying the position with free agent acquisition Pedro Feliz in 2008.

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