The Triple Crown of Hitting: Baseball’s Holy Grail

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Few would dispute that baseball’s popularity has held up much better than that of the other two great sports of America’s early 20th century, boxing and horse racing. However, much like horse racing, one of baseball’s most coveted feats is called the Triple Crown. Technically, in fact, two Major League feats share that name—a Triple Crown occurs either when a hitter leads his league in batting average, home runs, and RBIs (runs batted in) during a regular season.

Here is some background on hitters who have won the Triple Crown:

-Ted Williams, AL, Boston Red Sox, 1942 and 1947. Remarkably, the legendary Williams scored two Triple Crown titles—one before and one after he left to fight in World War II for America! Williams’ second Triple Crown featured tallies of a .343 batting average, 32 homers, and 114 runs batted in (RBIs). Amazingly enough, this .343 seasonal batting average, considered stellar by any standard, was lower than Williams’ career average of .344!

-Frank Robinson, AL, Baltimore Orioles, 1966. At a relatively old age of 30, Robinson, who had just been traded to the Orioles by the Cincinnati Reds, shocked the baseball world with his 1966 AL Triple Crown. With an average of .316, 49 home runs, and 122 RBIs, Robinson enjoyed the finest season of his career while securing himself a permanent place in baseball’s history books.

-Carl Yastrzemski, AL, Boston Red Sox, 1967. Yaz, as the power-hitting Yastrzemski was affectionately known, turned in a masterful 1967 season. With a .326 batting average, 44 home runs, and 121 RBIs, Yastrzemski set a standard for batting supremacy that would not be matched for several decades to come!

-Miguel Cabrera, AL, Detroit Tigers, 2012. By far and away the most recent addition to the club, Miguel Cabrera became the first player to win a league triple crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967—some 45 years earlier! Cabrera, age 29 at the time, finished the season with league-leading figures of a .330 batting average, 44 home runs, and 139 RBIs. In addition, Cabrera notched 40 doubles, 109 runs, and a stellar .606 slugging percentage.

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