Orioles star Gunnar Henderson sparked debate among baseball fans Sunday, foregoing a cycle for an easy double. Photo Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports Aug 20, 2023; Oakland, California, USA; Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Gunnar Henderson (2) follows the flight of his solo home run against the Oakland Athletics during the seventh inning at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

The weekend showdown between the American League’s best and worst teams went as expected, with the Baltimore Orioles soundly sweeping the Oakland Athletics. Baltimore’s 12-1 win in Sunday’s season finale wasn’t especially dramatic, but one moment is producing debate among baseball fans.

With the Orioles leading 10-1 in the eighth inning, Gunnar Henderson came to the plate. Henderson was already having a big day. When he came to the plate in the eighth inning, he was 3-for-4 with a double, triple and home run. Needing only a single to complete the cycle. Henderson ripped a ball down the line and was presented with two options. Option 1, stop at first to complete the cycle. Option 2, turn to second and get an easy double.

Henderson took Option 2, foregoing the cycle.

If the outcome of the game was still in doubt, it’s unlikely that many people would have even considered suggesting Henderson stop at first. But Henderson’s hit made the score 11-1. Teams generally aren’t overcoming 10-run deficits, especially in the eighth inning. So, did Henderson make the right move?

The Orioles dugout even seemed to want him to stay at first, and plenty in the baseball world agreed. But several other people also felt that he made the right call.

It’s hard to fault Henderson here. Even looking beyond the fact that it’s a team game, the double is better for Henderson individually. Cycles don’t tend to come up that much in contract negotiations. Things like total bases, slugging percentage, OPS and extra-base hits do.

If Henderson needed a double to close out a cycle, it would be easy to defend him trying to stretch a single into a double, especially in a blowout game. But in this situation, it’s hard to dispute that he did the right thing.


About Michael Dixon

Michael is a writer and editor for The Comeback Media. He is Bay Area native living in the Indianapolis area. Michael is also a big nerd when it comes to sports history and to a slightly lesser extent, all history. Beyond that, loves tacos, pizza and random Seinfeld quotes.

Feel free to voice your agreements or disagreements. If you do so respectfully, Michael will gladly respond in kind.

Twitter: @mfdixon1985 (mostly personal but a lot of sports)/@mdixonsports (All work/sports related)

Email: mdixon@thecomeback.com