Why Cabrera Is the Greatest Tiger Ever if He Captures Back-to-Back Triple Crowns

Josh BerenterCorrespondent IJune 13, 2013

BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 01:  Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers hits a grand slam in the fourth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 1, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

No one in the history of Major League Baseball has ever won the Triple Crown in back-to-back seasons.

Rogers Hornsby and Ted Williams are the only two multiple winners of the 14 MLB players who have earned the Triple Crown, and Miguel Cabrera is vying to be the first to do it two years in a row.

The Detroit Tigers third baseman leads the MLB in batting average with a .358 mark and RBI with 69, and Cabrera’s 18 home runs are the second most in the AL, trailing only Baltimore’s Chris Davis.

Through 64 games, the 30-year-old is leading all other AL hitters in average by 20 points, and he’s earned 15 more RBI than Davis. Davis’ Orioles have also played two more games than the Tigers.

Cabrera is unanimously considered the best hitter in baseball today, and his outstanding performance during his career in Detroit begs the question if he’s the best Tiger ever.

If he wins the Triple Crown in 2013, there’s no question—the answer is yes.

Cabrera’s .326 average with Detroit is currently fourth all time among Tigers, trailing Bob Fothergill, Harry Heilmann and Ty Cobb, who boasts the best Tigers average of all time with a .369 career mark.

Cabrera’s 201 home runs as a Tiger puts him ninth on the all-time list, but most of the players he trails in that category spent their entire careers in Detroit. Cabrera has only played 856 games as a Tiger compared to Al Kaline, Norm Cash and Hank Greenberg, all of whom top the home run list in Detroit, but those three played 2,834, 2,018 and 1,269 games, respectively, for the Tigers.

The major stat that Cabrera has the most making up to do in order to top the Tigers' all-time list is RBI. He currently sits in 20th in RBI with 669 as a Tiger, but again, everyone above him on this list played at least 125 more games with the Tigers than Cabrera has, and some suited up in three times as many games as Cabrera has in Detroit.

Cabrera is the first MLB player to win the Triple Crown in 45 years and is the first Tiger to do it since Cobb in 1909, when Cobb accomplished the feat with only nine home runs.

The Venezuelan has consistently been the best player for the Tigers in one of the most successful eras in team history.

He’s led Detroit to two postseason appearances, including a trip to the World Series, back-to-back AL Central division titles and a 384-326 record since 2009, a four-year run without a losing season.

To put the Tigers’ success under Cabrera’s leadership in perspective, Detroit hasn’t had a four-year span without a losing season since a run from 1985 to 1988, and it's only had such periods of winning a handful of times in team history.

Perhaps most importantly, Cabrera has helped make the Tigers matter. 

The Tigers are now a perennial successful team that has become a destination for big-name free-agent signings. People want to come to Detroit to play next to this guy and help him bring a world championship back to Detroit.

Yes, Cobb and Kaline and a few others might have better numbers with the Tigers now, but when Cabrera's career in Detroit is said and done, he'll be considered the greatest ever to don the Old English D.