Home run cycle hero Chandler Redmond visits Hall of Fame

Part of the HOFVISITS series
Written by: Bill Francis

Five months ago, minor leaguer Chandler Redmond accomplished arguably the rarest of baseball feats with his “home run cycle.”

Accompanied by nearly a dozen family members, Redmond had an emotional reunion with the bat he used that historic night during a recent trip to Cooperstown.

On Aug. 10, 2022, Springfield (Mo.) Cardinals first baseman Redmond, in a Texas League game at the Amarillo (Tex.) Sod Poodles, hit four home runs – a solo dinger, a two-run wallop, a three-run shot, and a grand slam. With this, he joined fellow minor leaguer Tyrone Horne, who achieved this unlikely triumph in 1998, as the only players in the history of organized professional baseball to claim a “home run cycle.”

“It’s surreal,” said Redmond after seeing his bat at the Today’s Game case as part of the Whole New Ballgame exhibit on the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s second floor on Jan. 13, four days after his 26th birthday. “I told myself that I wasn’t going to cry and that I was going to hold it together. But once I saw the bat in the case, it just hit me. I’m with all of the greats – the greatest of the greats come here. Every kid wants to be in here and now I’m a part of it and it’s just absolutely mind-blowing. You want to be a part of the game. Now I am. I’m always a part of baseball history. It’s just so humbling.”

Redmond’s Double-A Springfield team, a St. Louis Cardinals affiliate, would defeat Amarillo, 21-4. In the 88-degree night, he homered four times, going 5-for-6 with 11 RBI in the victory. After singling in the first inning and whiffing in the third, the lefty swinger went deep in four straight plate appearances – each coming off a different pitcher – in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth.

“The crazy thing is, when you do it during the middle of the season like I did, you don’t really get to enjoy it,” Redmond said. “Everybody’s telling me what a great game I had, but I’ve got to prepare for the next game or else I’m going to go 0-for-4 and then it doesn’t matter what I did last night. There’s always something that you have to prepare for. So, this is nice, during the offseason, to actually get to enjoy it.”

The Middletown, Md., native’s final at bat, with two outs and runners on first and third in the eighth inning, came against Amarillo reliever Austin Pope. The third pitch landed over the wall in right-center field to cap his momentous night.

“We’re blowing them out, but it’s not like they’re throwing position players yet. It’s a real pitcher. He’s got two pitches, just a fastball and curveball, and he goes curveball for a strike, curveball for ball,” Redmond remembered. “Everybody knows the next pitch is going to be a fastball, so the catcher takes a deep breath and says, ‘Well, here we go.’ He throws me a fastball and I didn’t miss it.

“It just felt like nothing. It felt like I almost didn’t even hit it. And you know what was so nuts? Because we are winning so big, everybody’s just chilling on the bench. But when I came up in that situation, it’s like everybody just got quiet and all my teammates came up to the edge of the dugout, everybody’s watching.”

Redmond would add that his faith played a role in his success.

“One thing that was crazy was, my big game came right after the trade deadline. We had just traded a top prospect for the Cardinals, Malcom Nunez. He was playing first over me. So, I was getting kind of inconsistent playing time. And so we traded him away the week before the ‘home run cycle.’ So that whole week I’m our starter now and I went 0-for-15,” Redmond said. “And I was asking God why would you do that? You just blessed me with such a great opportunity, how are you going to leave me right now? And then the very next game that I played after that, I did something that you can’t even dream of. I don’t believe in coincidences, so when it all happened, I couldn’t have been more amazed in the power of God and also so disappointed in my lack of faith. It was such a humbling moment.”

Unlike many baseball fans, Redmond knew what a “home run cycle” was before he accomplished it.

“When I was in college, I had actually seen a college softball player did it. I saw it on social media. So, in my game I actually knew what was going on,” Redmond said. “It’s one of the craziest things because I did realize what I was doing. And usually once you realize what you’re doing you never do it. And it was just crazy to realize it and actually fulfill it.”

For Horne, his moment in the sun came on July 27, 1998, when the outfielder for the Arkansas Travelers, a then Double-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, hit for the “home run cycle” in San Antonio. Thanks to his two-run homer in the first inning, a grand slam in the second, a solo homer in the fifth and a three-run homer in the sixth, the 27-year-old left-handed batter accomplished something never before seen in pro baseball.

“So afterwards I called Tyrone up and the first thing that he said to me was, ‘Welcome to the club.’ He said we have to be a part of the most exclusive club in baseball,” Redmond said. “So, it was just it was cool to hear how he did it. And to see all the similarities, like we were both Double-A players for the Cardinals and both being left-handed hitters. He said that three of his home runs were to left and one was to right just like mine. Some of the similarities were crazy.”

While at the Hall of Fame, Redmond was also able to see the Louisville Slugger Horne used that night, a club weighing in at 32 ounces and 33 ½ inches long. The bat Redmond donated, manufactured by LV Lumber, weighs 31.5 ounces and is 34 inches.

“When the Hall of Fame asked for the bat, I did think about it for a split second,” Redmond said with a laugh. “It was right after the game that they asked for it. But that was the first game I ever used that bat. It could have maybe had more hits left in it. But I was also like, ‘Man, I can’t go out the next night and break it and send the Hall of Fame a broken bat.’ I wouldn’t be able to live with myself, so I packaged it up that day.”

The family trip from Columbia, S.C., to Cooperstown, which included, among others, Redmond’s parents, wife and 6-month-old son Walker Brooks. It was the brainchild of his wife, Kristan, who saw a postgame interview with her husband in which he said about his Hall of Fame donation: “I think it will hit me even harder when I’m older and I go to Cooperstown with my little boy and take a picture of him with my bat. It’s going to be pretty special.” He was surprised with the Cooperstown trip plans as a Christmas gift.

“I was like, ‘Well, I could make that happen.’ So, then I just called the Museum, and they helped make it a reality,” Kristan said. “It was funny because when Chandler got home from his season, he was like, ‘Yeah, well, maybe we’ll go to Cooperstown when Walker’s like 10 or 11.’ And I was like, ‘10 or 11? We’re going now. We can bring him back when he’s 10 or 11.’ It’s been amazing. I’m just really proud of him. And hopefully one day he’ll be inducted in here and then we’ll be back again for that.”

Of course, Redmond’s parents, Jack and Dawn, were also very proud.

“A lot of people didn’t believe in Chandler, but he believed in himself,” Dawn Redmond said. “I never ever doubted; his dad never doubted. He wasn’t recruited by big D-1 schools; he went to a small D-1 school (selected in the 32nd round of the 2019 draft out of Gardner-Webb University). The way his steps have been orchestrated in this path have just been amazing. So, we’re very grateful.”

Redmond finished 2022 with Springfield – his third professional season – batting .236 (77-for-327) with 21 homers and 79 RBI.

“I’ve been training really hard. I’m actually down 22 pounds from the season, working with a coach for my diet and for my weightlifting programs. So, I’ve made a bunch of big changes,” Redmond said. “I think it’s a good sign for things to come.”

Bill Francis is the senior research and writing specialist at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
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Part of the HOFVISITS series