It’s been a year of firsts since Cody Bellinger joined the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 25 for his MLB debut. Bellinger’s stint with the club was expected to be brief. Less than three months later, the Dodgers shudder to think where they’d be without the 22-year-old wunderkind.
Bellinger became the fastest player in MLB history to 21 home runs and five multi-homer games; broke Mike Piazza’s Dodgers rookie record with a sixth multi-home run game, and did so in 57 career games which shattered Mark McGwire’s MLB record (97 games) for fastest to accomplish the feat.
Bellinger’s 25 home runs during the first half of the season were most by a National League rookie since 1933, which was the first year the MLB All-Star Game was played. He also hit the most home runs in the first half of a season by a Dodgers player since Shawn Green slugged 26 in 2002.
First-half accolades culminated with Bellinger being named to the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game. He became the first Dodgers player to earn a trip to the Midsummer Classic in his first season.
“This week has definitely been the top of everything,” Bellinger said. “To start hearing my name at the [Home Run] Derby, and then the All-Star game, it’s definitely something I’ll never forget.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has seemingly run short on superlatives when discussing Bellinger. “Every time he steps on the field, something special can happen,” Roberts told reporters following Saturday’s win over the Miami Marlins.
Bellinger became the first Dodgers rookie to hit for the cycle and at 22 years old and two days old is the youngest NL player to accomplish the feat since Cesar Cedeno in 1972, and the seventh-youngest player all-time.
The Dodgers’ last cycle was courtesy Orlandon Hudson against the San Francisco Giants in the home opener of the 2009 season. Bellinger, Hudson and Wes Parker (1970) are the only players in Los Angeles franchise history to hit for the cycle.
The Dodgers had seven cycles hit during the organization’s time in Brooklyn.