Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Miguel Cabrera's Impending Triple Crown Is a Huge Deal

I stopped paying much attention to baseball when the Red Sox lost their 70th game of the season, so maybe I've just been too unplugged to notice, but it doesn't seem like Miguel Cabrera's Triple Crown campaign is getting the attention it deserves. This is a huge, massive deal. He leads all three categories going into the last day of the season.

Only 15 players have done what he's about to do. Only 11 since 1920, when double-digit homerun totals became necessary to achieve it (9 HRs won Ty Cobb the Crown in 1909, 14 won it in 1901 and 1887, and 4 won it in 1878).

It's a tough combination, to be the best power hitter and the best hitter for average.

It hasn't been done for 45 years. It's an achievement that went untouched even during the Steroid Era. Not even hulking sluggers, their veins throbbing with PEDs, could do it.

Then look at the players who have done it. Only the best: Carl Yastrzemski, Hall of Famer. Ted Williams, perhaps the best pure hitter ever, did it twice. Frank Robinson, another HOFer. Mickey Mantle, Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby did it twice, hitting over .400 each time. Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Hall of Famers Chuck Klein, Joe Medwick, and Napoleon Lajoie. The only two Triple Crowners not immortalized in Cooperstown are Paul Hines and Tip O'Neill, who both did it in the 1800s. Hines hit 4 homeruns for the Providence Greys in 1878, and that was good enough.

These are some of the best hitters of the modern era, and this might be the most impressive and most prestigious single-season achievement a hitter can hope to reach.

It practically guarantees an MVP (In 1942, Ted Williams finished 2nd in voting behind Joe Gordon of the Yankees. The media didn't like Ted much), and it can significantly improve a Hall of Fame resumé.

Cabrera looks like he might be on his way to Cooperstown one day. He's only 29 and already has 1,800 career hits, over 300 HRs, some All-Star Games, some Silver Sluggers (at three different positions), and a World Series ring. Add a Triple Crown and an MVP to that list and you're approaching enshrinement territory.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo

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