Adrian Beltre really needs to stop doing great things, or he’s going to keep getting his head touched. And you know how much he hates that.
Beltre became just the fourth man in MLB history—the third of the modern era, and the first since the 1930s—to collect three career cycles. And he did it quickly, completing his cycle in just the fifth inning of the Rangers’ 12-9 win over the division-leading Astros.
Beltre got the hard part out of the way early, tripling in the first inning. So when he hit the ball into the left-centerfield gap in the second, he had a choice. Try for another triple, or hold up and collect the double. At the very last moment he chose the latter, and he knew exactly what he was doing.
“I thought I might, but I changed my mind last second,” said Beltre, who rapidly circled both of his arms like he was trying to reverse his momentum.
Asked whether he was thinking then about preserving the chance for a cycle, Beltre paused briefly before responding, “Maybe.”
He tallied a single in the third, and when he came up to the plate in the fifth, he was eyeing a long ball. “Not going to lie,” Beltre said, “I was looking for a home run.”
He got it on the first pitch:
So, the truly fun part of the video begins when Beltre gets back to the dugout, and his teammates—longtime tormentor Elvis Andrus especially—all want to give him a pat on the head. Beltre must have been happy with his cycle, because he didn’t murder anyone.
Beltre hit for cycles in 2008 and 2012, and though one of them came as a member of the Mariners, all three have happened in Arlington. It’s half fluky and half impressive that he’s now one of such a small group to complete three different cycles, but he’s a rare hitter who combines power, contact, and just enough speed to make triples feasible, if rare. Looking at Beltre’s career stats is an absolutely treat—he’s been doing this for so long and so consistently, and somehow has had his best seasons after turning 30. He is—or ought to be—a Hall of Famer. Let’s hope they invite Elvis Andrus to his induction ceremony.