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Today in Cubs history: Mark Grace hits for the cycle

It’s the last time any Cub has accomplished this feat.

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Hitting for the cycle is a fairly rare feat, although in recent times it’s happened maybe half a dozen times a year.

Still, in all of MLB history, there have been 340 cycles, including one this year by Luis Arraez of the Marlins. That makes them slightly less rare than no-hitters, of which there have been 318.

This is the story of the most recent cycle by a Chicago Cubs player.

The Cubs were facing the Padres on a Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field with a good crowd of 30,062 in attendance.

The Padres ran out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning off Jose Guzman. In the bottom of the first, Mark Grace doubled with two out and advanced to third on a single by Ryne Sandberg, but was stranded.

In the third, with nobody out and Jose Vizcaino on first, Grace singled. Sandberg followed with an RBI single to make it 2-1.

But the Padres increased their lead to 3-1 in the top of the fifth. Grace led off the bottom of the inning, but lined to right. A home run by Bob Geren in the top of the seventh made it 4-1 San Diego, and Grace came up with two out in the bottom of the inning and tripled to left, the ball hitting the wall just above Darrell Sherman and bouncing away, allowing Grace to take three bases.

Fred McGriff, who would be a Cub nearly a decade later, homered off Chuck McElroy to make it 5-1 Padres in the eighth.

The game went to the bottom of the ninth with the Padres still holding that four-run lead. Rick Wilkins led off the inning with a single, but the next two hitters made routine outs. Vizcaino then singled, bringing up Grace.

Grace completed his cycle by smashing a three-run homer into the right-field bleachers. The deficit was cut to one with Sandberg coming to bat, but he lined to short to end the game.

It’s the last time any Cub has hit for the cycle — and the last time anyone has accomplished the feat at Wrigley Field. It happened 30 years ago today, Sunday, May 9, 1993.

From BCB’s JohnW53, here are a couple of fun facts about Grace’s cycle and Cubs team cycles:

The Cubs have gone even longer without a cycle: from July 1, 1891 (Jimmy Ryan) to June 23, 1930 (Hack Wilson). Grace’s cycle came six years and 10 days after their previous one, by Andre Dawson on April 29, 1987.

The Cubs’ fastest pair of cycles were 25 days apart, in 1966: by Billy Williams on July 17, and Randy Hundley on August 11.

The Cubs’ 11 total cycles since 1876 ties them for the eighth most by a team. The Pirates have hit 24; the Giants and Red Sox, 23; and the Cardinals, 20.

Here are all four of Grace’s hits. The announcers are the Padres TV crew.