|For the first time since 1967, there's a triple crown winner in baseball. (US Presswire)|
Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera has won the American League triple crown, ending the last game of the regular season leading the AL in batting average, home runs and RBI. No one has won a league triple crown since Carl Yastrzemski did it in 1967.
“I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to Miguel Cabrera on winning the Triple Crown," Yastrzemski said in a statement. "I am glad that he accomplished this while leading his team to the American League Central title. I was fortunate enough to win this award in 1967 as part of the Red Sox Impossible Dream Team. I am sure Frank Robinson joins me in commending Miguel in reaching this significant milestone in his career.”
Cabrera, 29, ends with a .330 batting average, 44 home runs and 139 RBI. That wasn't all, though, as Cabrera also had 40 doubles, 109 runs and a very impressive .606 slugging percentage. Cabrera ends up as the AL leader in slugging percentage, OPS and total bases in addition to the triple-crown categories.
|Cabrera/Triple Crown Coverage|
Still, the triple crown is what it was all about Wednesday night. Major League Baseball has a league triple crown winner for the first time since the Johnson administration.
Yastrzemski hit .326 with 44 homers and 121 RBI in 1967, leading in average and RBI, but actually tying fellow Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew with 44 homers. It still counts, but Cabrera has become the first man since Frank Robinson (1966) to win the triple crown without tying in one of the categories.
“I congratulate Miguel Cabrera on winning the Triple Crown," Robinson said in a statement. "Miguel has been outstanding all year long by coming to play every day, showing his discipline at the plate and making the most of his great talent. For me, earning the batting title over Tony Oliva, who we played against in the last series of the year, was the hardest part, and for Miguel, I am sure it was even more challenging, given all the specialized relievers in the game today. Most importantly, Miguel and the Tigers now have the opportunity to participate in the most exciting month of the baseball season. This is an incredible accomplishment for a gifted young man, and Miguel should be proud of his all-around excellence and consistency throughout the season.”
Interestingly, the last six triple crown winners have now come from the American League. The last National League triple crown came in 1937, when Hall of Famer Joe "Ducky" Medwick pulled off the feat as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.
“It is an honor to congratulate Miguel Cabrera on earning the Triple Crown, a remarkable achievement that places him amongst an elite few in all of Baseball history," MLB commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. "Miguel has long been one of the most accomplished hitters in the game, and this recognition is one that he will be able to cherish for the rest of his career in baseball and beyond. As the Tigers prepare for the Postseason, we have a global stage to witness Miguel's talent, which will go down as one of the hallmarks of Major League Baseball's extraordinary 2012 regular season.”
Winning the triple crown hasn't always guaranteed winning the league MVP. Ted Williams, for example, won two triple crowns (1942, 1947) and finished second in MVP voting both times. Cabrera won't find out until the first week of November if he's won the AL MVP or not. Again, though, for now the triple crown is what is important.
But not for long.
Cabrera and his Tigers now head to the postseason as the American League Central champions, to square off against the Oakland Athletics in the ALDS. Game 1 will be Saturday in Detroit's Comerica Park.