Brad Wilkerson hit for the cycle yesterday in Montreal's 6-4 win over Pittsburgh. Not only did Wilkerson collect the four different hits needed for a cycle, he did it by amassing the hits in sequential order-first single, then double, then triple, and finally home run. ESPN reports that this the first sequential cycle "since the Chicago White Sox's Jose Valentin did it in five at-bats against Baltimore on Apr. 27, 2000." Wilkerson did it in a four-at-bat game.
I wondered what the odds were of a player hitting for a sequential cycle in a four-AB game. Using the NL 2002 averages, the likelihood is about 0.000088% or about 1 in 1,133,946. Given the number of games played in the NL in 2002, the expected occurrences of a sequential cycle were 0.02054 or about one every fifty years (I orginally said 5, sorry).
Wilkerson's odds given his 2003 stats were slightly better. The probability was about 0.00026%or about 1 in 388,592. Given that he has played 65 games the expected number of sequential cycles is a tiny fraction (0.00016727). Using a 162-game schedule, one expect Wilkerson to play about 2399 seasons before he recorded a sequential cycle.