With this being the 20th anniversary of the 2000 season, there’s plenty of nostalgic memories of one of the more memorable White Sox seasons of my lifetime, and today we’re going to revisit the day that José Valentin hit for the cycle on April 27, 2020 against the Baltimore Orioles at Comiskey Park.
Entering the day, the White Sox were 14-7 and hosting the 12-8 Orioles in front of a modest Comiskey Park crowd of just over 13,000.
Low attendance for April day games has always been the norm for the White Sox, but on this date, the Comiskey faithful were treated to a show by underrated shortstop, José Valentin.
Bottom of the 1st
In his first at-bat of the day, after a double by second-baseman Ray Durham, Valentin laid down a bunt to advance Durham to third, but the perfect bunt resulted in an infield single for Valentin.
The very next at-bat, Frank Thomas scored Durham on a sacrifice-fly to centerfield, giving the Sox their first run and cutting the Orioles lead to 2-1 after one, with Valentin having the first leg of the cycle completed.
Bottom of the 2nd
The very next inning, Valentin drove a 1-1 offering from Orioles’ pitcher Jose Mercedes to deep right field for a double, securing the second leg of the feat.
The White Sox would plate three runs, on three hits to take a 4-2 lead after two innings.
Bottom of the 3rd
In the bottom of the third, with the White Sox leading Baltimore 6-2, Valentin stepped into the box against Calvin Maduro with the bases loaded. After working a full count, Valentin took Maduro deep to right field on the sixth-pitch of the at-bat, scoring Carlos Lee, Greg Norton, and Mark Johnson on a three-run triple.
The triple pushed the Sox lead to seven, as they led Baltimore 9-2 at that point, and in just three innings, Valentin was just a home run shy of the cycle.
Bottom of the 5th
New Orioles’ pitcher B.J. Ryan struck Valentin out to open the frame, making Valentin three-for-four on the afternoon.
Bottom of the 7th
In his next at-bat, Valentin took a Mike Trombley offering over the right field fence to give the White Sox an 11-4 lead and complete the cycle.
Valentin finished the day 4-5, notching ‘the natural cycle’, having attained all the necessary hits in specific order (single, double, triple, and home run). The White Sox routed the Orioles 13-4 that afternoon, improving to 15-7, and Valentin to this day is still one of just 14 players to achieve hitting for the natural cycle.
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