Friday, September 21, 2012
Miguel Cabrera's Quest for the Triple Crown
With 13 games to go, Miguel Cabrera is making a serious run at the Triple Crown. Currently, he leads the American League in batting average with .333 and RBIs with 130. Cabrera has 41 home runs, which is one home run behind league leader Josh Hamilton. Cabrera has 7 more RBIs than Hamilton, and in batting average Mike Trout is second with a .324 average. Hamilton has been out lately with vision problems, and Trout has cooled off a bit. Cabrera has been on a roll, and the Triple Crown is well within reach for him.
Just how rare is it to win a Triple Crown? Well, it hasn't been done since 1967 when Carl Yastrzemski did it. Only 15 times in baseball history has a hitter won the Triple Crown. Frank Robinson, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams(twice), Joe Medwick, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Chuck Klein, Rogers Hornsby(twice), Ty Cobb, Nap Lajoie, Tip O'Niell, and Paul Hines have reached this milestone. O'Niell and Hines did it in the 19th century, and Cobb and Lajoie did it in the deadball era. Medwick, a Cardinal, was the last National League player to win the Triple Crown in 1937.
Its a feat that Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Albert Pujols never accomplished. Pujols has led in two legs of the Triple Crown, and has led the league in all three categories in different seasons, but never the same one. Gary Sheffield came close to winning it in 1992, but he broke a finger late in the season. He led the National League in batting average, and was within striking distance of the home run and RBI lead. Willie McCovey, Billy Williams, Dick Allen, George Foster, Jim Rice, Mike Schmidt, Frank Thomas, Larry Walker, Bonds, and Pujols have also gave it a good run.
Cabrera has a realistic shot of becoming the first player since Yaz to win the Triple Crown. Cabrera has led the league in batting average, home runs, and RBIs one each in seperate seasons. Cabrera has been on fire in September, batting .364 with 8 home runs and 21 RBIs. Besides gunning for the Triple Crown, Cabrera is trying to lead his Tigers to the playoffs. They are currently 2 games behind the White Sox for the AL Central.
There are some baseball people who think that Mike Trout should win the AL MVP this year. Not that Trout is a bad candidate, he can do it all, hit for average, power, has great speed, good baserunner, plays Gold Glove level defense, throws well. Its also possible that both Trout and Cabrera miss the postseason, so that might not be the tiebreaker. It wouldn't be the worst MVP pick ever if Trout won it, but Cabrera is on the cusp of doing something historic. It would be a travesty if Cabrera won the Triple Crown, and did not win the MVP.
Chris Carpenter will make his season debut today at Wrigley Field. It will be his first start since Game 7 of the 2011 World Series. Hopefully, Carp will provide a boost for the Cardinals on their playoff run. It would be nice to have a battle tested postseason veteran for the playoff rotation.