Miguel Cabrera is chasing history…
The 29-year-old Venezuelan third baseman for the Detroit Tigers is thisclose to joining an elite list of the Major League’s batting stars.
Baseball hasn’t seen a Triple Crown winner — a hitter leading the league in home runs, runs batted in, and batting average — since 1967.
But Cabrera could change that this season… by becoming the first Latino Triple Crown winner.
The seven-time All-Star player is currently leading the American League in batting average and RBIs, and he trailed the Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton by just two home runs as of September 19, according to Yahoo! Sports.
Cabrera—who homered to help the Tigers beat the Oakland Athletics 6-2 on Wednesday night—is already a World Series Champion (with the Florida Marlins), a three-time Silver Slugger Award winner and two-time recipient of the Luis Aparicio Award, which is given annually to honor the Venezuelan player who recorded the best individual performance in Major League Baseball.
Here are the eight players who have pulled off the feat in the American League:
Carl Yastrzemski, Boston Red Sox, 1967 (.326 batting average, 44 HRs, 121 RBIs) – Yaz is the last player to win the Triple Crown. His greatest competition came in the home-run race where he tied Harmon Killebrew with 44.
Frank Robinson, Baltimore Orioles, 1966 (.316, 49, 122) – Just a year before Yastrzemski won his Triple Crown, Frank Robinson won one of his own for Baltimore. Robinson’s .316 average was the lowest ever for a Triple Crown winner.
Mickey Mantle, New York Yankees, 1956 (.353, 52, 130) – Mantle joined Gehrig as the two Triple Crown winners in the long history of success for the Yankees. The Mick led the league by a whopping 20 home runs over Cleveland’s Vic Wertz.
Ted Williams, Boston Red Sox, 1947 (.343, 32, 114) – It’s fitting that the man who many feel is the greatest hitter ever won not one but two Triple Crowns. Williams’ second, in 1947, featured the third of his six batting titles. He edged out Hall of Famer Joe Gordon, then of the Indians, by three for the home-run title.
Ted Williams, Boston Red Sox, 1942 (.356, 36, 137) – 1942 was Teddy Ballgame’s last year before missing three years for military service. He made sure baseball would miss him. Though his average dropped by a full 50 points over his amazing 1941 season, he still won the batting title by 25 points. Amazingly, he did not win the AL MVP in either of his Triple Crown seasons.
Lou Gehrig, New York Yankees, 1934 (.363, 49, 165) – In accomplishing the Triple Crown, Gehrig pulled off what his more famous teammate — Babe Ruth — never did. Gehrig’s 165 RBIs were the most ever in a Triple Crown-winning season.
Jimmy Foxx, Philadelphia Athletics, 1933 (.356, 48, 163) – Foxx won the second of his thee MVPs for this season. This was part of a remarkable streak in which Foxx drove in 100 or more runs for 13 straight seasons.
Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 1909 (.377, 9, 107) – It’s amusing in today’s era to see a player lead the league with just nine home runs. Cobb dominated the 1909 season. In addition to the Triple Crown categories, he led the American League in runs, stolen bases, hits, total bases, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.
Nap Lajoie, Philadelphia Athletics, 1901 (.426, 14, 125) – Lajoie produced the highest batting average for a Triple Crown winner. A Hall of Famer, Lajoie led the AL in 11 offensive categories in 1901. He won the batting title by 86 points that year.