By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
Twenty-six years ago today, Rondell White had the game of his life.
Not only did the Montreal Expos outfielder hit for the cycle in his club’s 10-8, 13-inning win over the San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park, but he also set franchise records for most hits (6) and most runs (5) in a single game.
“When you’re hot, you’re hot,” a low-key White told the Montreal Gazette after the game. “I told [Darrin] Fletcher before the game that I just wanted one hit to enjoy the flight home. But you get one, you want two. Two? You want three . . . after three, you’re pretty satisfied.”
Batting fifth and playing centre field for the Expos, White singled off Giants starter William VanLandingham in the second inning and then belted a solo home run and a two-run double off the right-hander in fourth and fifth innings respectively.
The right-handed hitting slugger then doubled again off Giants reliever Mark Dewey in the seventh and had a chance to complete the cycle two innings later, but he popped out to first base off Giants’ closer Rod Beck.
Meanwhile, Expos closer Mel Rojas blew an 8-4 lead in the ninth and the game went into extra innings where White added another single in the 11th off right-hander Chris Hook prior to completing the cycle with a two-out triple off Steve Mintz in the 13th when he hit a sinking line drive that eluded Giants right-fielder Glenallen Hill.
“The ball was kind of dying,” Hill told the Montreal Gazette following the contest. “I probably could have played it a little safer, but that’s not the way I play. I wouldn’t change anything about the play – except I’d catch the ball.”
White ended up scoring the winning run for the Expos when catcher Tim Laker tripled two batters later.
With the win, the Expos swept the Giants at Candlestick Park for the first time in 12 years.
On top of his cycle, six hits and five runs in this contest, White had gone 11-for-16 (.687) in the three-game series to raise his batting average from .299 to .373.
“He was unconscious,” Laker told the Montreal Gazette about White’s performance after the game. “If there was a level above the major leagues, he’d be called up after this game. That’s how good he was.”
Fun Facts about White’s Cycle
-With his cycle, White became the fourth Expos player to complete the feat and the first since Tim Raines on August 16, 1987. Prior to Raines, Tim Foli (April 22, 1976) and Chris Speier (July 20, 1978) had also hit for the cycle for the Expos. Brad Wilkerson (June 24, 2003) and Vladimir Guerrero (September 14, 2003) later accomplished the feat.
-White is the only Expos player to hit for the cycle and record six hits in the same game. Raines had five hits in the contest in which he hit for the cycle, while rest of the Expos to hit for the cycle had four-hit performances.
-White was the only Expos player to complete their cycle with a triple. Four others – Foli, Raines, Wilkerson and Guerrero – hit a home run in their last at bat. Speier doubled in his final plate appearance.
-White had 19, four-hit games in his career, but he never had a five-hit game outside of his six-hit, cycle game.
-In the same contest White hit for the cycle, catcher Darrin Fletcher tied career-bests with four hits and five RBIs.