Tim Raines goes 5-for-5, hits for the cycle

Part of the INSIDE PITCH series
Written by: Cady Lowery

On Aug. 16, 1987, the Montreal Expos were trailing the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-4 when Tim Raines stepped to the plate in the seventh inning.

With three hits already – a single, double and a triple on the day – Raines was looking to keep the hot streak going.

And he did just that.

Raines led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a double, igniting a late inning comeback for the Expos.

He then scored from second on a single by Mitch Webster. Herm Winningham drew a walk, and scored on an error that allowed Andres Galarraga to reach base. That brought Tom Foley to the plate with two runners on base. Foley sent a ball into the outfield seats to give the Expos the lead 9-7.

The Expos were out in front, but Raines wasn’t done yet.

In the eighth inning he came to the plate with four hits, just a home run shy of the cycle. Raines blasted a ball into the outfield stands, completing the cycle with his 16th home run of the season. He became just the third Expos player to record a cycle.

Tim Raines parlayed speed and power into a Hall of Fame career. On Aug. 16, 1987, Raines hit for the cycle against the Pirates. (National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum)

“I wasn’t even thinking about the cycle when I came up in the eighth,” Raines said after the game. “I just wanted to hit the ball hard.”

It was just the third time a big league player hit for the cycle in 1987. Raines followed longtime friend Andre Dawson of the Cubs and Candy Maldonado of the San Francisco Giants when he accomplished the feat.

The Expos beat the Pirates 10-7, winning their fourth straight game and completing the sweep over Pittsburgh. Raines was responsible for five of the Expos 14 hits and scored four of the team’s 10 runs, helping the team improve to 66-51. The win pulled the Expos to within four of the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League East.

While Raines was proud of his accomplishment, his playing career was always about finding ways to help his team win.

“The way our team keeps fighting back to win, you feel you have do your share,” Raines said after the game. “So, hitting for the cycle was the way I did it best.”

Coming off a great 1986 season in which he won the batting title with a .334 average, Raines was in the middle of his Hall of Fame career. And the cycle was just one of many accomplishments during Raines’ great 1987 campaign.

The seven-time All-Star was the 1987 All-Star Game Most Valuable Player after his game-winning two-run triple propelled the National League to a victory in extra innings. He finished the season with a .330 batting average, a .429 on-base percentage and .955 OPS. He led the league with 123 runs scored.

Raines finished his career with six seasons in which he scored 100 or more runs and eight seasons with 50 or more stolen bases.

He ranks fifth all-time with 808 career stolen bases and is the only player in history to steal at least 70 bases in six consecutive seasons.

Raines was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in 2017.

Cady Lowery was a public relations intern in the Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

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Part of the INSIDE PITCH series