Kotsay nets first Braves cycle since '87
Center fielder doubles in seventh inning to complete feat
ATLANTA -- Mark Kotsay has said that he'd like to be back with the Braves next year. Whether that happens remains to be seen. But he'll forever remain in their record book.
With a seventh-inning double off Bob Howry in Thursday night's 11-7 loss to the Cubs at Turner Field, Kotsay became the sixth player (fifth since 1900) in franchise history to hit for the cycle.
"It takes some luck to do that," Kotsay said. "But I did have some good at-bats."
Actually, Kotsay had five productive at-bats while matching a career-best five-hit performance and becoming the first Braves player to hit for the cycle since Albert Hall accomplished the feat on Sept. 23, 1987, against the Astros.
Kotsay and Hall are the only players in Atlanta Braves history to hit for the cycle and the only players in franchise history to do so since 1910. The other Braves who have realized this accomplishment were Herman Long (1896), Duff Cooley (1904), John Bates (1907) and William Collins (1910).
"I saw both of them [in Atlanta]," said Braves left-hander Tom Glavine, who was a rookie in 1987. "It's obviously a very rare thing, and when you see it, it's very exciting. It's pretty much as exciting as seeing a no-hitter."
Kotsay began his historic march with a second-inning triple, then he recorded a fourth-inning leadoff homer and a sixth-inning single.
After connecting with Howry's 2-2 slider in the seventh, Kotsay raced out of the batter's box and slid into second base with the double that accounted for his 1,500th career hit and put him in the history books.
"After that first at-bat, all of my concentration came into focus and I seemed to have tunnel vision," said Kotsay, who has batted .357 over his past 27 games.
When asked if he was thinking about a double as soon as he came out of the batter's box in the seventh inning, Kotsay jokingly replied: "I was actually thinking about the ball that I lost in the twilight."
He was referring to the Geovany Soto fifth-inning single that he never located until it landed beside him in the outfield grass.
Kotsay had a chance to become the only player in Padres franchise history to hit for the cycle. But during a May 19, 2001, game in Montreal, with his team leading, 20-7, and two outs in the ninth inning, he chose not to turn a double into the triple that he needed.
"I could have easily gotten to third base that night," Kotsay said.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.