Miguel Cabrera is on the verge of doing something that hasn’t been done in over four decades; winning MLB’s Triple Crown. By definition, in order to win the Triple Crown, a batter must lead the league in home runs, runs batted in and batting average. Cabrera currently has 42 home runs, 133 runs batted in and a .331 batting average, leading the league in each of these categories. The last player to do this was Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. Yaz lead the American league with 44 home runs, 121 runs batted in and a .326 batting average. Amazingly, Yastrzemski put up these kind of numbers in each individual category throughout his career. Even toward the end of his time with Boston, (1961-1983), Yaz smashed 100 or more RBI’s. Currently, Cabrera’s RBI and Batting average are higher than Yaz’s, but Miguel is beat out by Yastrzemski in the home run column. Lets see how Cabrera fairs against other Triple Crown winners:
Frank Robinson: In 1966 Frank Robinson won the Triple Crown, just a year before Yastrzemski. During that year, Robinson lead the American League with 49 HR, 122 RBI and a .316 BA. Just like Cabrera, Robinson’s physical presence, raw power and ability to crush the ball in all areas of the strike zone, made him someone that opposing pitchers feared. Comparing these two monster athletes, Cabrera again wins in the RBI and BA columns. Unfortunately, when Robinson wasn’t taking the ball to the cheap seats, he was striking out, which hurt his batting average and any chance of repeating his Triple Crown win.
Mickey Mantle: Mickey Mantle won the Triple Crown in 1956, leading the American league with 52 HR, 130 RBI, and a .353 BA. Like Robinson, Mantle was literally a “hit or miss” batter; both were among the league leaders in strikeouts. Compared to Cabrera though, Mantle wins in home runs and batting average. Cabrera and Mantle had very similar personalities, on and off the field. Friendly and soft spoken, both possessed natural athletic talent, but both men were also heavy partiers. Though it may not have affected their on-field performance, it still has changed the way each player has been viewed in the public eye.
Ted Williams: Ted Williams is the greatest hitter in MLB history and is questionably the greatest player ever to play the game. Though Williams is most notably remembered for his .407 BA, he also had two back to back Triple Crown wins in 1942 and 1947. In 1942, Williams lead the American League with 36 HR, 137 RBI and a .356 BA. In 1947, he had 32 HR, 114 RBI and a .346 BA. Looking at his numbers for ‘42 in comparison to Miguel Cabrera, Williams had more runs batted in and a much better batting average. But comparing his 1947 season, Cabrera’s numbers beat Williams in each category but batting average. Though Williams was never considered a “power hitter” during his time in the league, like Cabrera, he always found a way to increase his average and get his bat on the ball.
Now, with little more than a week still remaining in the season, Miguel Cabrera has a chance not only to become Major League Baseball’s first Triple Crown winner in 45 years, but possibly one of its greatest.