October 3rd, 2012
12:01 PM ET

Detroit's Miguel Cabrera claims triple crown

Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera has become baseball's first triple crown winner in 45 years, leading the American League in batting average, home runs and runs batted in.

Cabrera locked up the home run and RBI titles in the afternoon Wednesday as Texas' Josh Hamilton failed to produce either in the Rangers' loss to Oakland. Cabrera finished with 44 home runs to Hamilton's 43 (matched by the New York Yankees' Curtis Granderson with a late surge), and 139 RBI to Hamilton's 128.

Cabrera's batting title race against Los Angeles Angels rookie Mike Trout hinged on both men's performances in their respective games Wednesday. Trout got two hits in three at-bats to finish the season at .326, according to mlb.com. Detroit manager Jim Leyland pulled Cabrera from the lineup in the fourth inning in Kansas City after he went 0 for 2, leaving him with a .330 season average.

Baseball season's final day brings drama

One person who said he wouldn't be shocked if Cabrera nabbed the triple crown was the Boston Red Sox's Carl Yastrzemski, who hit .326 with 44 homers and 121 RBI as the last person to win the crown in 1967.

“I’m surprised it’s gone on this long, to be perfectly honest. When (Pete) Rose broke (Ty) Cobb’s hit record and when (Cal) Ripken broke (Lou) Gehrig’s consecutive game record, I never thought that would happen either, so it’s going to happen,” the Hall of Fame outfielder told the Boston Globe last week.

“There’s so much more publicity nowadays, people call a report in every day,” the Globe quoted Yastrzemski as saying. “In ’67, the Triple Crown wasn’t even mentioned. We were so involved I didn’t know I’d won it until the next day when I read it in the paper.”

That the length of his reign surprises Yastrzemski is, well, not surprising. The Baltimore Orioles' Frank Robinson had done it the year before Yastrzemski. Eleven others have done it also, dating back to Paul Hines of the Providence Grays in 1878. The Red Sox's Ted Williams and the St. Louis Cardinals' Rogers Hornsby each won it twice.

Of course, Major League Baseball was much different 45 years ago than it is today. There were only 20 teams (there are 30 today) and the only playoff was the World Series, which the Red Sox lost to the Cardinals in Yastrzemski’s triple crown year.

But Yastrzemski said batters of his era had one obstacle to face that today’s hitters don’t, a pitching mound that was 5 inches higher. The higher mounds gave pitchers an edge on velocity.

“I’d like to see what some of the pitchers would throw today, what their speeds would be, if they came off a higher mound. I could see (Justin) Verlander probably throwing 100 mph or more on every pitch,” Yastrzemski told Boston radio station WEEI.

With Cabrera winning  the triple crown, one historic baseball streak is still standing: Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak in 1941. No one has come closer than 12 games from that mark since.

And one question will still be outstanding on Cabrera's season: Should he be the league's most valuable player? Yastrzemski was in 1967.

TBS MLB analyst Dennis Eckersley thinks Cabrera deserves the MVP honor.

"I think Cabrera's focus has been on his team and winning, not concerns for himself.  Playing for your team and having great numbers is an incredible feat,” Eckersley said.

MVP or not, it won't reduce what Cabrera has accomplished this year, says his manager.

"No matter what happens, there are absolutely no flaws in Miguel Cabrera's season. None. Period. End of story,"  Leyland said in a CBS Sports report.

TBS will have exclusive coverage of the first-ever Wild Card games on Friday, October 5. The network will also be the exclusive home of up to 18 Division Series games and the entire ALCS.

soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. jayne north

    he should not have got the triple crown. not true to the record for testing positive. suppose to be a role model. he should have been suspended for the season. some role model. he sucks. shame shame shame

    October 4, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Wwwwrrrrrooooonnnngggg Cabrera. Miguel won the triple crown. Melky cheated.

      October 4, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      This post would be etremely embarassing if the poster were not female.

      October 8, 2012 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Cmag23

      Okay, so what exactly are you flaming he tested positive for? Absolute skill? Smart ball play? Great sportsmanship? Last time I checked, these were good things to have during a player's career. So, next time you try to claim something as outlandish as you just did, take these few tips in mind. 1: Get you facts straight. 2: Know what you are actually talking about before trying to slander someone. God have mercy on this country and these freaking people that inhabit it...

      October 10, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  2. Rob

    I am just astonished by how many people don't know of Miguel Cabrera. A top 5 player for nearly a decade and still he is confused with a guy who plays on the opposite side of the country in the NL.

    Great job MLB, way to market your stars!

    October 4, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Maybe if he was a little "flashier" or played in New York ... But those of us in the D .... Know who he is and have for a while

      October 5, 2012 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
  3. Greenspam

    Moneyball says none of those stats matter.

    October 4, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Billy Beane has 0 world series championships as a GM. The Yankees (opposite of moneyball and purchasers of RBIs, homers, and OBP) have 4 during Beane's tenure in Oakland. Sabermetrics are cute, but moneyball can't compete consistently against offenses built on Hits, homers, RBI, and high priced pitchng.

      October 4, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Home Runs, RBI's and Batting Average DO NOT Matter .... UMMMM I am no expert on Baseball ... but I thought scoring RUNS was kind of a big thing .... and getting on base, getting others to score ... and well scoring seem to be pretty important to me.

      October 5, 2012 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
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    Your phrase simply excellent

    October 4, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. nick borchardt

    miguel cabrera should have won he definetly deserves it he played outstanding, but got lucky he barely beat josh hamilton.

    October 5, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      I really thought Josh Hamilton had a shot 🙂

      October 8, 2012 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
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