Miguel Cabrera Captures First Triple Crown Since 1967

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistOctober 3, 2012

Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera has become the first Triple Crown winner Major League Baseball has seen since 1967. The All-Star led the league in average, home runs and RBI to become the 14th member of this hallowed club. 

His final statline: .330 average, 139 RBI, 44 home runs.

Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox was the last player to lead the American League in all three of those categories, pulling off the feat 45 years ago en route to winning the MVP award. 

Cabrera's quest for history almost came out of nowhere. He entered the month of September with 33 home runs, three behind Texas' Josh Hamilton. It was hardly an insurmountable lead, but no one was talking Triple Crown at the time. 

A big month saw Cabrera hit 10 home runs and drive in 27 runs to climb atop the leaderboard in homers and RBI. His batting average for the month was "just" .308, his worst single-month output in that category since April. 

Combined with Detroit's finish atop the AL Central, all the attention is going to turn to the MVP award for Miguel Cabrera. There are two camps out there right now—one for Cabrera and one for Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout. 

Since 1931, when the Baseball Writers Association of America started voting for the MVP, there have been nine Triple Crown seasons. Five of those players, including the last three (Yaz in 1967, Frank Robinson in 1966, and Mickey Mantle in 1956), wound up winning the MVP award.

Since that debate has been argued ad nauseam over the last three weeks—and, frankly, it's not fair to either player to keep discussing it, because I am sure that they could care less, and it sounds like you have to discredit one to talk about the other—we will leave that debate for another forum. 

Instead, let's just look at the story that Cabrera gave Major League Baseball and its fans over the last month. Narratives are everything in sports, and few players have provided a more dramatic finish to the season in recent memory than Cabrera has in 2012. 

Here is a look at the results from all three Triple Crown categories with the 2012 MLB season completed. 

First up, batting average:

 1. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
 2. Mike Trout, Angels
 3. Joe Mauer, Twins
 4. Adrian Beltre, Rangers
 5. Derek Jeter, Yankees


Next, we will take a look at home runs:

 1. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
 2. Josh Hamilton, Rangers
 3. Curtis Granderson, Yankees
 4. Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays 
 5. Adam Dunn, White Sox


Finally, the league leaders in RBI:

 1. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
 2. Josh Hamilton, Rangers
 T-3. Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays
 T-3. Josh Willingham, Twins
 5. Prince Fielder, Tigers