Ok. I'll admit that I can't get the Bengie Molina cycle out of my head today with the news that he's now a coach. Sure, the photo of Molina and Neftali Feliz jumping into each other's embrace after striking out Alex Rodriguez to send the Texas Rangers to the World Series is a famous one in franchise history (and something Thad Levine referenced during a conference call with reporters Tuesday), but for me, the Molina image from that season is the cycle at Fenway Park.
That moment was No. 10 in our ESPN Dallas "Dazzling Dozen" following the 2010 season. Here's part of what I wrote about it:
Molina, who called himself "probably the slowest guy in the world," added an achievement that few could have predicted when he hit for the cycle. Molina legged out a triple in the eighth inning on July 16 in Fenway Park in Boston to do it, receiving plenty of antler signs from the Rangers dugout.
Molina, acquired in June from San Francisco, hit a ball to the deepest part of Fenway Park in the eighth inning and center fielder Eric Patterson had trouble getting to it. Despite a tweaked right quadriceps, Molina just kept running and ended up with an unlikely triple and the cycle.
Molina had an incredible game. And without some clutch hits during his cycle, the Rangers probably would not have beaten the Red Sox that night. He hit a hard single to center in the second and doubled to right field in the fourth.
But it was his at-bat in the fifth that provided the key to breaking open the game. Texas trailed 3-2 when the inning began. Boston, though, gave the Rangers an extra out thanks to a two-out error (a bad throw that allowed runners at first and second to advance). Nelson Cruz was intentionally walked to load the bases for David Murphy, who also walked to drive in the tying run. That's when Molina stepped to the plate. He hit a 1-2 pitch into the center field seats for a grand slam, turning the game completely in the Rangers' favor.
It was a great moment and it was the series that started the second half of the season that year for the Rangers. They had ended the first half poorly, getting swept in four games by the Baltimore Orioles (including a loss in Cliff Lee's first start for Texas), and that moment and series helped put it all behind them.
Anyway, it's on my mind today now that Molina will once again wear a Rangers uniform as the first base coach.