YCPB Awards: Play of the Year – Pigs Flying in Boston

Honus Wagner. Tris Speaker. Jimmie Foxx. Joe DiMaggio. Lou Gehrig. Ted Williams. Mickey Mantle. Carl Yastrzemski. George Brett. Cal Ripken Jr. Alex Rodriguez. Bengie Molina.

Wait, what?

Well, other than being carbon-based life forms who play baseball, these men all have something in common: they’ve hit for the cycle. Last year, eight players hit for the cycle; this year, only four players did, and one of them was Bengie Molina, on July 16 at Fenway Park.

Bengie started off his night rather innocently, with a single in the second inning. He added a double in the fourth, leaving him halfway there. It was in the fifth, however, that he really erupted. Texas sent eight men to the plate against struggling starter Felix Doubront and reliever Fernando Cabrera. Following a bases-loaded walk to David Murphy, Molina stepped to the plate and hit a grand slam, putting the Rangers ahead 7-3, a lead they’d never relinquish.

Now, with a single, double, and home run, Molina was hit away from the cycle. Of course, that one hit was a … triple. Before 2010, Molina had 4743 career PA and five total triples. That’s an average of one triple every 949 at-bats or so. Oh – and in the 2010 season, Fenway Park, while a hitters’ park, was the third-worst park for triples in the majors. So the odds were not with Mr. Molina on that night.

Tell that to him. He lead off in the top of the eighth inning and hit a fly ball to center which the center fielder, Eric Patterson, didn’t play well – you could make a case that it was an error, but in the situation, I totally understand why it wasn’t called that – and, um, well, ran as fast as he could, which for a Molina is not too fast. “GET THERE, BIG FELLA!” Josh Lewin, the Rangers announcer, yelled. The ball got to third base, but it was too late; Bengie Molina had just hit a triple to complete the cycle. Lewin added: “PIGS HAVE FLOWN IN BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS!”

Lewin’s right; what had happened was just so crazy and bizarre that pigs might as well have sprouted wings and flown over the green monster. But the truth is, it was so darn crazy – and, yes, unpredictable – that it was believable. Only in a sport like baseball can something as funny as Bengie Molina’s cycle be appreciated all the way.

Oh, and as you might imagine, the video of this triple is an absolute must-see, not just because of the triple itself but because of the announcers too. Check it out.

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