The Gregg Jefferies cycle game

On August 25, 1995, Gregg Jefferies became the first Philadelphia Phillies player to hit for the cycle in 32 years.

I’ve done my share of reminiscing about the 2000 Philadelphia Phillies on this site. And I’ve also brought you a host of game recaps straight from the scorecards of games that I went to. The night that Gregg Jefferies hit for the cycle doesn’t fit into either one of these categories, as I was home watching it on NBC’s short-lived Baseball Night in America, but that particular game against the Los Angeles Dodgers was one of the nuttiest, most memorable Phillies games I’ve ever witnessed.

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Let’s start with the cycle itself. No Phil since Johnny Callison had hit for it since 1963, but the 28-year old Jefferies seemed like as good a player as any to do it after signing with the Phillies before the 1995 season following a pair of all-star campaigns with the St. Louis Cardinals. In this particular contest, Jefferies started his journey by homering into the Phillies’ bullpen in the bottom of the first inning off of Hideo Nomo, who we’ll get to in a bit.

In the third inning, Jefferies flared a ball the opposite way that Dodgers’ left fielder Roberto Kelly misplayed into a triple, plating a pair of runs. Jefferies was halfway there, with the hardest parts out of the way already. After pulling a ball through the hole for a boring old single in the fourth, Jefferies came to the plate in the fifth with a chance to make history. And he did just that, roping a double to left field to complete the feat. Jefferies was a pretty good ballplayer when he wasn’t staggering around underneath home runs that he should have caught.

Also, did I mention that the Phillies won this game 17-4? This one had everything, not just the cycle. Let’s take a look.

It was the first time that the Phillies had ever faced Nomo, the Dodgers phenom who was at that point well on his way to collecting Rookie of the Year honors. But on this night, the Phillies torched him for seven runs (six earned) in three innings. You can read all about it here in an incredibly inappropriate piece of sportswriting from the next day. Wow, things have changed in 25 years.

Another fun element of this one is Nomo’s counterpart, Phillies starting pitcher Jeff Juden. Juden, who was probably a better musician than he was a pitcher, threw his first career complete game in this one. But it was what he did at the plate that made it even more memorable.

In the fourth inning, Juden stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. The sacks were packed with the likes of Lenny Webster, Charlie Hayes, and Andy Van Slyke, which sounds like the setup of every Phillies joke that I’ve ever written. But what happened next was no joke, as Juden sent one into the night. Check it out here, but feel free to skip around the whole video for some old commercials that are great. The Grand Salami by Juden was yet another bonkers part of this game, and it was the first and only MLB home run for the career .109 hitter.

But it wasn’t all good news for the Phillies on this night, as Darren Daulton tore up his knee, which caused him to miss the rest of the season. (This is why Webster was on base for Juden’s slam, as he had to come in to pinch run for Daulton after he was summoned from his slumber underneath one of the walking ramps outside the Vet.) At any rate, the loss of Daulton really hurt the Phils, who finished a mere (checks notes) 21 games out of first place.  Never mind. But it was, sadly, pretty much the end of the road for Daulton. He never caught in a major league game after that, playing out the string in the outfield and at first base. I guess his injury was punishment for how much fun the rest of the game was for us.

Next: Phillies Retro Recap: May 13, 2000

August 25, 1995 really had it all and maxed out the excitement factor, which is saying something when you talk about the Phillies of the mid- to late-90’s. It’s games like this that stick with fans for a generation and connect us to the game of baseball so deeply. I can’t wait to put more like this in my memory bank.

Published at Sat, 16 May 2020 23:51:53 +0000

Source: The Gregg Jefferies cycle game.

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