The Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera stands to be the first MLB player to win the Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox did it. Cabrera’s Triple Crown would mark the 18th time a MLB player has managed to top the league in homers, RBIs and batting average.
At this point, the Detroit third baseman has the lead in all three categories. His BA stands at .329, RBIs are at 137 and HRs at 44. Right now he’s six points ahead of Mike Trout (323) in BA, 10 ahead of Josh Hamilton (127) in RBI and one ahead of Hamilton in homers (43). The good news for the Tigers is that along with having the potential Triple Crown winner on the team, Detroit has taken the AL Central. Cabrera is not a shoe-in to win the award, but he certainly has a decent shot and it doesn’t hurt that he’s on a competitive team.
It was in 1967, the Impossible Dream, season during which Yastrzemski won the Triple Crown with stats that were amazingly close to the numbers that Cabrera has put up. Yastrzemski finished the season with 44 HRs, 121 RBIs and a .326 BA. He also carried the Boston to the AL Pennant, which was not decided until the final day of the season. Both the Tigers and Minnesota Twins finished one game behind the Red Sox. Then Boston lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 4 games to 3 in the World Series. Along with winning the Triple Crown that year, Yastrzemski won a Gold Glove and was the AL M.V.P. For a guy who had an amazing career that would carry him to the Hall of Fame on the first vote (94.63 percent first ballot), it was a career year.
The year before he made the mark, Frank Robinson did the same, winning the crown with 49 HRs, 122 RBIs and a .316 BA. Little did anyone know that it would not happen again (if it does) for 45 years.
Three different players have won the Triple Crown Twice—Ted Williams (1942, 1947), Jimmy Foxx (1932, 1933) and Rogers Hornsby (1922, 1925). Perhaps Williams’ feat is the most amazing as he won the Triple Crown prior to going into service for World War II and then he won it again after coming back from the war.
What’s especially invigorating about Cabrera’s possible accomplishment is that if he is successful, it will occur in the post-steroid era, after fans have been dismayed with homerun records that were artificially boosted by the use of performance enhancing drugs.
The Triple Crown is the rarest of accomplishments. This is the longest gap since the Triple Crown was last won and it’s certainly not a done deal. The homerun and RBI lead can be lost, especially with players like Trout and Hamilton in the chase. Stay tuned—if Cabrera does win the Triple Crown, it could be a once in a lifetime occurrence.