06/28/2004 10:07 PM ET
Bell hits for cycle in Philly
Seventh-inning triple seals six-RBI night
By Joseph Santoliquito / Special to MLB.com
David Bell, who missed most of the second half of 2003 with back problems, said his back locks up on him once a year. (H. Rumph Jr./AP)
PHILADELPHIA -- A bottle of Dom Perignon awaited the new hitting hero in front of his locker, surrounded by eight tall plastic glasses. But David Bell was still trying to figure it all out.
Philadelphia's 31-year-old third baseman wore a look of awe on his face, after becoming the seventh Phillies player to ever hit for the cycle in a 14-6 victory over the Expos on Monday.
It was first cycle in Bell's career, and he became the first player in the brief history of Citizens Bank Park to ever hit for the cycle. Bell made Major League history by joining his grandfather, Gus Bell, as the first grandfather-grandson combination to hit for the cycle. Gus Bell, David's grandfather and the father of former Major Leaguer Buddy Bell, hit for the cycle playing on June 4, 1951, playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates, in, of all places, Philadelphia.
"I didn't realize what had happened until I got to third base," Bell said, reacting to the triple he hit in the seventh that completed the cycle. "I haven't had too many triples and it's kind of rare on a night when I had three other hits. I probably would have thought of it, if I had a triple earlier in the game. I think it's just rare. You're trying to make hits and win the game. Then you realize it's something that just doesn't happen very often.
"I saw what they left for me over at my locker, and I'm going to over and get that."
Bell doubled in the second, blasted a three-run homer in the fourth, singled in the sixth and drove a triple to deep center field in the seventh. But, Expos manager Frank Robinson disputed the triple, claiming a fan had interfered with Montreal center fielder Brad Wilkerson, and that Bell should have only been awarded a double due to fan interference.
After some debate with the umpiring crew, Bell was awarded the triple, becoming the seventh player in Phillies history to hit for the cycle (Chuck Klein hit for the cycle twice while playing for the Phillies). The last Phillie to achieve that was Greg Jeffries, who accomplished the rare hitting feat on August 25, 1995.
Bell had a career game, driving in a career-best six runs. His three-run homer in the fourth opened up the flood gates to a six-run Phillies inning. It was the ninth homer of the season for Bell, who entered the game hitting .266. But Bell saved the best for last, when he hit the triple, the hardest hit in the cycle.
He smacked a 2-2 pitch off Montreal reliever Rocky Biddle to deep center
field. The ball bounced off the stands and back into play. Wilkerson chased
the ball down and relayed it into the infield, but by then, Bobby Abreu and
Jim Thome had scored, giving the Phillies a 14-5 lead.
"I would have argued that, if they said it was a double, the way David runs, I don't think that's going to come up too much," joked Phils manager Larry Bowa. "I mean, David's legs were moving real fast. When you're not real fast, cycles are hard to achieve. Cycles are even rarer than no-hitters. I was pretty excited for David, and his teammates were pretty excited for him."
As the media left and his teammates started to taper out of the clubhouse, Bell sat there alone in front of his locker, a look of disbelief still on his face. He finally got to sip some Dom Perignon and enjoy a rare accomplishment.
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.