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. Mike Wrathell

    Go Miguel! Go Tigers!

    October 3, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Name*

    Cabby is going to dp it......you can take that to thr bank !

    October 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Paul

    Miguel will get the triple crown and the Tigers will win it all...

    October 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. alex

    Cabbie has picked himself up from that druken night in Florida and really has turned himself around and that deserves full credit. Hope he gets it cause I am sick of hearing about Trout. He can have rookie of the year but he needs a few more years playing with the big boys of baseball.

    October 3, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. frank rizzo

    Man up and play tonight and let the chips fall where they may. Earn it!

    October 3, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ron

      Earn it?? Really.
      Miggie has played in 160 games out of a possible 161 with 620 AB. The other two contenders: Hamilton 147 games with 557 AB and Trout 138 games with 556 AB. All great seasons...but to say "Earn it!" to Miggie is a slap in the face.

      October 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Hollywood

    Stay sharp and focused and you can make a little history.

    October 3, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chuck

    Here's hoping he closes the deal, its been way to long! Good luck!

    October 3, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Hank

    He will win it tonight.
    The fact that there's even a small doubt wether he deserves the MVP is crazy to me.

    October 3, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jon

    The triple crown is the most honorable individual accomplishment in baseball history. Only the very elite get their name engraved on it. The time has come for a new member to have their name immortalized. Congratulations Mr. Cabrera!!!

    October 3, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. 2001 suzuki intruder 1400

    Baseball is booooooooring, kind of like watching paint dry.

    October 3, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      brian: "sissy"? what is your sport? do you play it or just watch it?

      October 4, 2012 at 4:41 am | Report abuse |
  11. beautiful man

    Hamilton should be the mvp.

    October 3, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jeremy

    U got it cabbie! and to the tigers... JUST KEEP DOIN WHAT UR DOIN BOYS!!!!!!!

    October 3, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. chrissy

    Baseball is NOT boring and cabrera ROCKS and so do the Tigers! Go Tigers, go Cabrera!

    October 3, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jonc

    I have zero respect for him because he has no respect for the game. No matter how many records he sets he will always be a tool that couldn't get where he's at without cheating, and then being arrogant about it. I don't like to wish ill will on ppl, but I hope he loses his ability to play baseball soon. He's a disgrace.

    October 3, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      Cheating? Where is that coming from? Arrogant? Are you talking about the same person? Please, enlighten me.

      October 3, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Devon

      I think you might be confusing Miguel Cabrera with Melky Cabrerea. Miguel has been consistently a beastly hitter throughout his entire career, Melky got caught taking PEDs and tried to BS his way out of his through some phony website. Miguel, however, has had DUI issues, though no baseball related issues. Miguel deserved this.

      October 4, 2012 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      I had nothing to comment, but after reading those words with so much hate and envy I can't stop thinking of what a miserable man you are. I pray for your soul and the people you face everyday of your life because just meeting you must steal the life out of anybody. Get a life.

      October 4, 2012 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Dphockey13

      lol you probably thought that the multiple Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong died when it was the first man to land on the moon, Neil Armstrong. Miggy has never been accused, tested positive, or as far as we know, taken steroids you misinformed and ignorant clown.

      October 4, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Logic

      We are talking about Miguel Cabrera, not Barry Bonds. Get your sluggers straight. Miggy loves the game so much, that when the Tigers asked him to move to 3rd base, he never complained and put in extra work at it. Prince Fielder was even impressed, sort of shamed into putting in more work himself, just to justify taking the guy's position.

      October 4, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Johnny Hurst

    Congratulations on an awesome feat !!!!!

    October 4, 2012 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
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