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Miguel Cabrera and the Triple Crown

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Even though new statistics may be better barometers, Cabrera’s accomplishment is still a big deal.

Miguel Cabrera and the Triple Crown

In this article…

Baseball's Triple Crown, leading the league in batting average, home runs, and RBIs, is an accomplishment from a bygone era.  The last player to accomplish the feat was Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox, and he did that in 1967.  A whopping 45 years had passed since a player in either league had done it, and no one really came close either.  No one had even finished first in two of the three categories since Yaz did it all.  With the advent of specializing across all facets of baseball, it wasn't too farfetched to think this might not occur again.

Miguel Cabrera changed that on Wednesday.  He won the A.L. Triple Crown with a line of .330, 44 home runs, and 139 RBIs.  As Ted Keith wrote over at Sports Illustrated, this achievement is a testament to Cabrera's overall skill and ability to perform at a high level in most of the games this season.  You have to hit for average.  You have to hit for power.  And you have to get hits with runners in scoring position.  And you have to do that all the time.

Going through Cabrera's game log over the course of this season, the longest stretch he went without a hit was five games, and that happened right at the beginning of the season.  The longest he went without driving in a run was eight games (and he didn't play in one of them).  Cabrera was doing it all for Detroit, and they needed him to do it all.  Their pitching staff struggled (aside from Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer).  The lineup dealt with injuries and inconsistencies.  A Tigers team that was the overwhelming favorite to run away with the division found itself in a dog fight with the White Sox.  That made Cabrera's accomplishments that much more important for his team and impressive on the larger scale.

So why does it seem like Cabrera's achievement is being swept under the rug a little bit?  No one really took notice on a national scale until September, and even then there were plenty of distractions.  Mike Trout was busy having one of the greatest rookie seasons of all time.  The expanded playoff races required more focus.  Adding to it all, proponents of newer statistics were arguing the significance of leading the league in three archaic measures that might not be the best judges of player worth.  Those are legitimate arguments and diversions. 

But to that, I say that this is the Triple Crown, and it's really hard to do.  It's so hard to achieve it hasn't been done in 45 years.  We all freak out when no-hitters and perfect games occur, and those are starting to happen more frequently now than ever.  Is it because we don't have the attention span to grasp what Cabrera has been able to do over 162 games, but can only focus on things happening in the present?  Cabrera surged to the crown with a torrid second half, culminating in a historic overall season.  But you can't win the Triple Crown in one game.

Hopefully, Cabrera's achievements get their due.  Over his career, Cabrera has consistently been one of the best hitters in the game, and a Triple Crown should cement that status even further.  Could the accomplishment be rendered statistically irrelevant some day as we move towards newer, more representative statistics?  Sure.  But for now, this is still one hell of an accomplishment.  

Let CHARGED.fm get you tickets to see the Detroit Tigers take on the Oakland A's in the ALDS.  

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