Jody Gerut: The most improbable cycle?

Greetings and salutations, Brewer fans, and welcome to Reviewing the Brew, where we focus on any and all things related to Wisconsin’s MLB franchise. My name is Dave McGrath, and I’ll be your guide here at RtB. I’ll post a more thorough introduction about myself on an upcoming off-day, but you can know that I am a UW-Madison graduate that has worked as a sports journalist since 2004, covering the Badger football, men’s basketball and hockey teams, the Green Bay Packers and the Brewers.
Anyway, as any Brewer fan knows, there is a LOT of ground to cover with this team, from lineups, managerial decisions… heck, Jeff Suppan will probably have an entire series dedicated to him. And I hope to get to all hot topics in due time.
However, to kick off my contributions to this blog, I’ve decided that a look at a more positive aspect of the squad, that being Jody Gerut hitting for the sixth cycle in team history on Saturday against Arizona.
Now, when I first heard that, I thought to myself: “Jody Gerut??? That has to be the most unlikely candidate to hit for the cycle ever.”

That thought prompted me to take a look back at the six cycles the Brew Crew has enjoyed.

Mike Hegan, 1976
Charlie Moore, 1980
Robin Yount, 1988
Paul Molitor, 1991
Chad Moeller, 2003

That list prompted me to rethink that initial thought. So let’s have a little history lesson and review each one and the circumstances surrounding it and we’ll determine if Jody truly was the most unlikely Brewer to hit for the cycle.
Before we get to far, let me note that I will be heavily utilizing Baseball-Reference’s player linker. So any player I list that has played since 2006 will have his name also function as a link to his BR page, unless I state an exception.
And here is an exception: The players who hit for the cycle here will have their name link to the game recap of their glorious day.
Alright, let’s start with the old. You’re up, Hegan:

Mike Hegan, Sept. 3, 1976 at Detroit Tigers

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ Pos
1964 21 NYY 5 6 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .000 .167 .000 .167 -49 /3
1966 23 NYY 13 48 39 7 8 0 1 0 2 1 1 7 11 .205 .326 .256 .582 74 3
1967 24 NYY 68 140 118 12 16 4 1 1 3 7 1 20 40 .136 .266 .212 .478 46 39
1969 26 SEP 95 333 267 54 78 9 6 8 37 6 5 62 61 .292 .427 .461 .888 152 93/78
1970 27 MIL 148 556 476 70 116 21 2 11 52 9 7 67 116 .244 .336 .366 .701 94 *3/97
1971 28 TOT 111 215 177 24 40 7 1 4 14 2 1 31 32 .226 .340 .345 .684 97 3/79
1972 29 OAK 98 90 79 13 26 3 1 1 5 1 0 7 20 .329 .375 .430 .805 145 3/9
1973 30 TOT 112 220 202 20 49 5 2 7 19 0 0 12 51 .243 .284 .391 .675 92 3/D79
1974 31 TOT 107 288 243 24 57 9 1 9 41 1 5 38 43 .235 .340 .391 .731 112 D39/7
1975 32 MIL 93 236 203 19 51 11 0 5 22 1 1 31 42 .251 .347 .379 .727 106 73/9D
1976 33 MIL 80 248 218 30 54 4 3 5 31 0 0 25 54 .248 .324 .362 .686 103 D93/7
1977 34 MIL 35 64 53 8 9 0 0 2 3 0 0 10 17 .170 .313 .283 .596 64 /7D3
12 Seasons 965 2444 2080 281 504 73 18 53 229 28 21 311 489 .242 .341 .371 .712 104
162 Game Avg. 162 410 349 47 85 12 3 9 38 5 4 52 82 .242 .341 .371 .712 104
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/11/2010.

Hegan had two stints for the Brewers, for about 1.3 years in 1970 and 71 and then returning for the final three and a half years of his career 74-77, playing mostly as a first baseman in his first stay and then splitting time at first, DH and outfield the second time around. He wasn’t swift, with only 18 triples and 28 steals.
He only had one season with over 333 PAs, and he was an average-to-below average player when he did play, not hitting for much power (just 53 homers in over 2400 PAs) or average, making him seem a deplorable example of a corner infielder. However, he was able to do one thing exceptionally well, that made his deficiencies tolerable for role player: he could draw a walk (12.7 percent walk rate for his career). His career slashes of .242/.341/.371 with a wOBA of .326 pretty much tell the story.
However, he was the only All-Star for the Seattle Pilots’ inaugural and final season of 1969, and held the AL record for consecutive errorless games at 1B at 178, until Kevin Youkilis broke it in 2007.
Hegan’s fateful day actually is particularly interesting when you consider the opposing pitcher. Sept. 3, 1976 actually turned out to probably be the worst start of Mark “The Bird” Fidrych’s memorable Rookie of the Year season, as he was touched up for 9 runs, 7 earned in just 3 2/3 innings. Hegan had a double in his first AB, batting fifth (for who knows what reason) for the Crew that day, driving in two runs in what was the most important hit of the games, as it pertains to the victory, adding 15 percent to the Brewer’s winning probability that day.
Hegan was not a good with the bat (beyond not swinging it, and drawing walks, of course), particularly when it came to hitting triples or home runs, with only 71 combined in his career. The first Brewer to accomplish the feat truly might be the least likely… on scale of 1-10 Jody Gerut‘s, with one being George Brett (who hit for two in his career) and 10 being Ben Sheets, I’d rate Hegan a seven, particularly surprising when you factor in that his career was really winding down by the time he roughed up “The Bird.”

Rating

Charlie Moore, Oct. 1, 1980 at California Angels

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ Pos
1973 20 MIL 8 29 27 0 5 0 1 0 3 0 0 2 4 .185 .241 .259 .501 43 /2
1974 21 MIL 72 225 204 17 50 10 4 0 19 3 4 21 34 .245 .316 .333 .649 88 2/D
1975 22 MIL 73 262 241 26 70 20 1 1 29 1 5 17 31 .290 .336 .394 .730 106 27/9D
1976 23 MIL 87 290 241 33 46 7 4 3 16 1 2 43 45 .191 .314 .290 .604 80 27/D5
1977 24 MIL 138 418 375 42 93 15 6 5 45 1 7 31 39 .248 .306 .360 .666 81 *2
1978 25 MIL 96 285 268 30 72 7 1 5 31 4 2 12 24 .269 .300 .358 .658 85 2
1979 26 MIL 111 372 337 45 101 16 2 5 38 8 5 29 32 .300 .355 .404 .759 105 2
1980 27 MIL 111 356 320 42 93 13 2 2 30 10 5 24 28 .291 .336 .363 .699 95 2
1981 28 MIL 48 171 156 16 47 8 3 1 9 1 4 12 13 .301 .351 .410 .761 124 2/D97
1982 29 MIL 133 492 456 53 116 22 4 6 45 2 10 29 49 .254 .299 .360 .659 85 *92/4
1983 30 MIL 151 605 529 65 150 27 6 2 49 11 4 55 42 .284 .354 .369 .722 106 *9/2D
1984 31 MIL 70 203 188 13 44 7 1 2 17 0 4 10 26 .234 .275 .314 .589 66 9/28
1985 32 MIL 105 386 349 35 81 13 4 0 31 4 0 27 53 .232 .288 .292 .581 60 2/9
1986 33 MIL 80 263 235 24 61 12 3 3 39 5 5 21 38 .260 .317 .374 .691 86 2/9D48
1987 34 TOR 51 125 107 15 23 10 1 1 7 0 0 13 12 .215 .306 .355 .661 74 2/97
15 Seasons 1334 4482 4033 456 1052 187 43 36 408 51 57 346 470 .261 .319 .355 .675 89
162 Game Avg. 162 544 490 55 128 23 5 4 50 6 7 42 57 .261 .319 .355 .675 89
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/11/2010.

Moore is probably a much more memorable Brewer to fans who know their history, as he was the team’s starting or backup catcher from 1973 to 1986, logging 4357 PAs of .262/.320/.355 performance, good for a .296 wOBA, which is even worse than Hegan, but for a catcher who threw out about 38 percent of base stealers is more than acceptable. Still, in over 2,000 more PAs, Moore had eight (!) more triples and homers combined. Yikes.
His career day came batting ninth (much better than Hegan) for the Crew against starter Ed Halicki in the 160th game of the season.
He got his chance to get the cycle in the 8th inning and made it count with a double to centerfield. I can’t find any more info on the feat itself, so I don’t know if he legged out that double, but regardless, the chances of this defensive catcher hitting for the cycle were particularly awful, and clearly eclipse Hegan. This would have to register as an 8.5 on the Gerut scale.

Rating

Robin Yount, June 12, 1988 at Chicago White Sox

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ Pos
1974 18 MIL 107 364 344 48 86 14 5 3 26 7 7 12 46 .250 .276 .346 .622 79 6
1975 19 MIL 147 607 558 67 149 28 2 8 52 12 4 33 69 .267 .307 .367 .674 90 *6
1976 20 MIL 161 690 638 59 161 19 3 2 54 16 11 38 69 .252 .292 .301 .593 76 *6/
1977 21 MIL 154 663 605 66 174 34 4 4 49 16 7 41 80 .288 .333 .377 .710 94 *6
1978 22 MIL 127 545 502 66 147 23 9 9 71 16 5 24 43 .293 .323 .428 .752 110 *6
1979 23 MIL 149 626 577 72 154 26 5 8 51 11 8 35 52 .267 .308 .371 .679 83 *6
1980 24 MIL 143 647 611 121 179 49 10 23 87 20 5 26 67 .293 .321 .519 .840 130 *6/D
1981 25 MIL 96 411 377 50 103 15 5 10 49 4 1 22 37 .273 .312 .419 .731 114 *6/D
1982 26 MIL 156 704 635 129 210 46 12 29 114 14 3 54 63 .331 .379 .578 .957 166 *6/D
1983 27 MIL 149 662 578 102 178 42 10 17 80 12 5 72 58 .308 .383 .503 .886 150 *6/D
1984 28 MIL 160 702 624 105 186 27 7 16 80 14 4 67 67 .298 .362 .441 .803 126 *6D
1985 29 MIL 122 527 466 76 129 26 3 15 68 10 4 49 56 .277 .342 .442 .784 114 78D/3
1986 30 MIL 140 595 522 82 163 31 7 9 46 14 5 62 73 .312 .388 .450 .838 125 *8/D3
1987 31 MIL 158 723 635 99 198 25 9 21 103 19 9 76 94 .312 .384 .479 .862 125 *8/D
1988 32 MIL 162 696 621 92 190 38 11 13 91 22 4 63 63 .306 .369 .465 .834 132 *8/D
1989 33 MIL 160 690 614 101 195 38 9 21 103 19 3 63 71 .318 .384 .511 .896 152 *8D
1990 34 MIL 158 683 587 98 145 17 5 17 77 15 8 78 89 .247 .337 .380 .717 102 *8/D
1991 35 MIL 130 571 503 66 131 20 4 10 77 6 4 54 79 .260 .332 .376 .707 98 *8D
1992 36 MIL 150 629 557 71 147 40 3 8 77 15 6 53 81 .264 .325 .390 .714 101 *8D
1993 37 MIL 127 514 454 62 117 25 3 8 51 9 2 44 93 .258 .326 .379 .705 90 *8/3D
20 Seasons 2856 12249 11008 1632 3142 583 126 251 1406 271 105 966 1350 .285 .342 .430 .772 115
162 Game Avg. 162 695 624 93 178 33 7 14 80 15 6 55 77 .285 .342 .430 .772 115
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/11/2010.

A Hall-of-Famer with 20 seasons of .285/.342/.430 with a .344 wOBA, mostly at SS. Amazing, really. While 1988 didn’t rival either of Yount’s two MVP seasons (1982, 1989) or his MVP-caliber 1983 season, it was probably his fourth-best season, posting a .371 wOBA.
It was at that point the third ever cycle for the Brew Crew, but without question the most unsurprising. It would be more surprising if Yount had never hit for the cycle. One Gerut.

Rating

Paul Molitor, May 15, 1991 at Minnesota Twins

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ Pos
1978 21 MIL 125 556 521 73 142 26 4 6 45 30 12 19 54 .273 .301 .372 .673 89 46/D5
1979 22 MIL 140 645 584 88 188 27 16 9 62 33 13 48 48 .322 .372 .469 .842 126 *46/D
1980 23 MIL 111 512 450 81 137 29 2 9 37 34 7 48 48 .304 .372 .438 .809 125 46/D5
1981 24 MIL 64 284 251 45 67 11 0 2 19 10 6 25 29 .267 .341 .335 .675 100 8D/9
1982 25 MIL 160 751 666 136 201 26 8 19 71 41 9 69 93 .302 .366 .450 .816 129 *5/D6
1983 26 MIL 152 682 608 95 164 28 6 15 47 41 8 59 74 .270 .333 .410 .743 110 *5/D
1984 27 MIL 13 49 46 3 10 1 0 0 6 1 0 2 8 .217 .245 .239 .484 38 /5D
1985 28 MIL 140 642 576 93 171 28 3 10 48 21 7 54 80 .297 .356 .408 .764 109 *5/D
1986 29 MIL 105 482 437 62 123 24 6 9 55 20 5 40 81 .281 .340 .426 .765 105 5D/7
1987 30 MIL 118 542 465 114 164 41 5 16 75 45 10 69 67 .353 .438 .566 1.003 161 D54
1988 31 MIL 154 690 609 115 190 34 6 13 60 41 10 71 54 .312 .384 .452 .836 133 5D/4
1989 32 MIL 155 696 615 84 194 35 4 11 56 27 11 64 67 .315 .379 .439 .818 132 *5D4
1990 33 MIL 103 458 418 64 119 27 6 12 45 18 3 37 51 .285 .343 .464 .807 125 43/D5
1991 34 MIL 158 749 665 133 216 32 13 17 75 19 8 77 62 .325 .399 .489 .888 147 *D3
1992 35 MIL 158 700 609 89 195 36 7 12 89 31 6 73 66 .320 .389 .461 .851 139 D3
1993 36 TOR 160 725 636 121 211 37 5 22 111 22 4 77 71 .332 .402 .509 .911 143 *D3
1994 37 TOR 115 515 454 86 155 30 4 14 75 20 0 55 48 .341 .410 .518 .927 138 *D/3
1995 38 TOR 130 598 525 63 142 31 2 15 60 12 0 61 57 .270 .350 .423 .772 101 *D
1996 39 MIN 161 728 660 99 225 41 8 9 113 18 6 56 72 .341 .390 .468 .858 116 *D3
1997 40 MIN 135 597 538 63 164 32 4 10 89 11 4 45 73 .305 .351 .435 .786 104 *D3
1998 41 MIN 126 559 502 75 141 29 5 4 69 9 2 45 41 .281 .335 .382 .718 86 *D/3
21 Seasons 2683 12160 10835 1782 3319 605 114 234 1307 504 131 1094 1244 .306 .369 .448 .817 122
162 Game Avg. 162 734 654 108 200 37 7 14 79 30 8 66 75 .306 .369 .448 .817 122
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/11/2010.

By 1991, Molitor was predominantly a DH who occasionally played 1B. A career .306/.369/.448 with a .366 wOBA, “The Ignitor” was well on his way to the Hall of Fame as the ultimate contact hitter, not walking very often, but rarely striking out as well. With the exception of Molitor’s 1987 season, ’91 was probably his best season, highlighted by his cycle against his future team, almost 19 years ago to the day.
With Yount, Molitor is the best player in team history and even better equipped to hit for the cycle, as he had tons of speed and was a strong triples hitter, averaging seven per 162 games over his career. If Yount gets one Gerut, Molitor gets a half-Gerut.

Rating

Chad Moeller, April 27, 2004 vs. Cincinnati Reds

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ Pos
2000 25 MIN 48 139 128 13 27 3 1 1 9 1 0 9 33 .211 .261 .273 .534 34 2
2001 26 ARI 25 63 56 8 13 0 1 1 2 0 0 6 12 .232 .306 .321 .628 58 2
2002 27 ARI 37 123 105 10 30 11 1 2 16 0 1 17 23 .286 .385 .467 .852 114 2
2003 28 ARI 78 269 239 29 64 17 1 7 29 1 2 23 59 .268 .335 .435 .770 93 2
2004 29 MIL 101 349 317 25 66 13 1 5 27 0 1 21 74 .208 .265 .303 .568 47 2
2005 30 MIL 66 216 199 23 41 9 1 7 23 0 0 13 48 .206 .257 .367 .624 61 2
2006 31 MIL 29 104 98 9 18 3 0 2 5 0 0 4 26 .184 .231 .276 .506 29 2
2007 32 TOT 37 58 56 8 9 1 0 1 2 0 0 0 18 .161 .175 .232 .408 3 2
2008 33 NYY 41 103 91 13 21 6 0 1 9 0 0 7 18 .231 .311 .330 .640 69 2/53
2009 34 BAL 30 100 89 6 23 8 1 2 10 0 0 7 16 .258 .313 .438 .751 95 2
10 Seasons 492 1524 1378 144 312 71 7 29 132 2 4 107 327 .226 .288 .351 .639 63
162 Game Avg. 162 502 454 47 103 23 2 10 43 1 1 35 108 .226 .288 .351 .639 63
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/11/2010.

Playing 10 seasons, but only accumulating 1524 PAs, Chad Moeller made his hay in the majors as a backup catcher, playing in over 78 games only once: in 2004 when he shared the backstop job with Gary Bennett, but was the predominant starter. Like most career backup catchers, Moeller was an offensive liability posting a career slash line of .226/.288/.351 with a .277 wOBA, which is pretty bad. Unlike Moore however, only 24.2 percent of runners were caught by Moeller, making him slightly below average in that respect. But I’m sure that baseball purists will attest that he “called a great game” or “handled the pitching staff well.” Ugh. Fact was, he was probably below average overall, more so than Mr. Moore, making his cycle even more surprising.
Moeller his seven triples and just 29 homers in 1,524 PAs, which is a worst rate we’ve come across yet on this list. Making the feat even more improbable is that the Moeller was sick on the day he accomplished it, fighting off chills and aches.
He actually reached base a fifth way in the 9th inning too, reaching on error.
If Moore qualified as a 8.5 on the probability scale, Moeller is at least a nine as there are some pitchers who can boast better hitting numbers. For example: Mike Hampton’s career slash line: .246/.294/.356.

Rating

Jody Gerut, May 8 at Arizona Diamondbacks

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ Pos
2003 25 CLE 127 525 480 66 134 33 2 22 75 4 5 35 70 .279 .336 .494 .830 120 *978D
2004 26 CLE 134 548 481 72 121 31 5 11 51 13 6 54 59 .252 .334 .405 .739 97 *98/7D
2005 27 TOT 59 191 170 15 43 11 1 1 14 1 1 20 20 .253 .330 .347 .677 83 97/D
2005 27 PIT 4 18 18 2 4 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 3 .222 .222 .278 .500 31 /9
2008 30 SDP 100 356 328 46 97 15 4 14 43 6 4 28 52 .296 .351 .494 .845 132 8/9
2009 31 TOT 122 298 274 40 63 13 0 9 35 6 2 19 43 .230 .279 .376 .654 77 89/7
2010 32 MIL 24 42 40 4 8 2 1 2 8 0 0 2 10 .200 .238 .450 .688 81 /879
6 Seasons 566 1960 1773 243 466 105 13 59 226 30 18 158 254 .263 .327 .437 .763 105
162 Game Avg. 162 561 507 70 133 30 4 17 65 9 5 45 73 .263 .327 .437 .763 105
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/11/2010.

So, that leaves us with ‘ol Jody. After breaking into the league with the Indians in 2003, he spent the next two years as the primary starter for Cleveland, logging time at all three outfield positions, with slightly above average defense. His rookie year of .279/.336/.494 with 22 homers was pretty promising, but declining power rates the following year (11 homers, an ISO drop from .215 to .154) made him less of a valuable commodity, and ever since he has been something of a roving fourth OF, logging time with the Cubs, Pirates, Padres and now Brewers, even spending all of 08 in the minors.
With a career wOBA of .329 he’s slightly below average for a corner outfielder, but definitely above replacement level. I don’t think you can say that about Chad Moeller at any point in his career.
At age 32, he probably has shown what he really is, and that is a capable bench outfielder. He seems to me to be just below MLB average, so we’ll have to give ‘ol Jody a five on the Gerut scale.

Rating

So there you have it, Gerut’s cycle isn’t the most unlikely in the Brewers’ history; it’s actually the third most likely. Now that is a result I wasn’t expecting.
Meanwhile, Chad Moeller clearly qualifies as the most surprising of the Brewers’ cyclists. That he was able to hit one at all, with just seven triples in 10 seasons speaks to the unusual and chancy nature of the cycle.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say its more luck than skill, but there is clearly a large element of luck involved.
Until next time, Slainte!

Topics: Brewers, Chad Moeller, Charlie Moore, Cycle, Jody Gerut, Mike Hegan, Paul Molitor, Robin Yount

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