Matt Kemp: Why LA's Triple Crown Contender Should Be the Top Story in Baseball

Ben ShapiroAnalyst IIISeptember 24, 2011

Matt Kemp watches one of his league leading 37 home runs leave the yard
Matt Kemp watches one of his league leading 37 home runs leave the yardHarry How/Getty Images

MLB divisions are being clinched, and wild card births are being decided as the clock ticks down on another baseball season.

The American League MVP race seems likely to stoke the fires of debate about pitchers and their place in the MVP voting, and Rookie Of The Year honors seem up for grabs in both leagues. As this season comes to its conclusion there's certainly plenty to talk about.

So why aren't more people talking about this? Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers has a very real chance to win the Triple Crown in the National League. Consider this, the last offensive Triple Crown to be won was by Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox in 1967.

The last National League Triple Crown was won by Joe Medwick of the Saint Louis Cardinals in 1937! 

Check out this list: Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Joe Dimaggio, and Stan Musial. That's an impressive list isn't it? Not one of them ever won a triple crown. Rogers Hornsby and Ted Williams won two Triple Crowns. They're the only two players in all of Major League history to ever win two.

That brings up to Matt Kemp, who as of Saturday Morning September 24th 2011, has a six RBI lead—119-113—over Prince Fielder. Furthermore, Kemp is tied for the league lead in home runs with Albert Pujols (they both have 37 round-trippers) and is three points, .329 to .326, behind Jose Reyes and Ryan Braun for the National League batting title.

These numbers with less than one week to go in the regular season paint a picture of not just one of the most all-around dominating seasons in recent memory, but also of a player on the cusp of an indisputably historical accomplishment.

Let the MVP debate begin also, because frequently, and with good reason, the MVP award is often given to a player who is on a team that makes the playoffs. The Dodgers have been out of the playoff chase since before the All-Star break.

In fact, it's been a historically bad season for one of Major League Baseball's proudest franchises.

The Dodgers are a team of proud tradition dating back to its days as the centerpiece of the burgeoning borough of Brooklyn, NY. A borough that was inundated with a diverse group of immigrants in the beginning of the 20th century that rallied around the Dodgers at Ebbets Field.

A franchise which ushered in the breaking of the color barrier in professional sports by bringing Jackie Robinson to the big leagues in 1947, the Dodgers would continue to be at the forefront of baseball expansion by moving to Los Angeles and bringing baseball to the west coast.

This season has been the worst in Dodger History. It started with the brutal beating of a Giant fan in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium on the night of the home opener. The fan, who is just beginning the long recovery process, was severely injured. Questions regarding fan behavior and stadium security rightly ensued.

The season only got worse as the divorce proceedings between the owners of the team Frank and Jamie McCourt revealed major financial problems within the organization and led to the team filing for bankruptcy and a lawsuit by Frank McCourt against Major League Baseball.

Now, as the season mercifully ends, it appears there may be a very real ray of light on this otherwise forgettable season as Kemp has positioned himself to once again place the Los Angeles Dodgers in the favorable view of baseball history.

The Triple Crown really is an accomplishment to be appreciated. While modern stat geeks may claim that the three categories of batting average, home runs, and runs-batted-in (RBI) aren't quite as relevant as they were once thought to be, the fact remains that these numbers aren't to be taken too lightly.

No National League Triple Crown since 1937? Think about how long a period of time that is. Seventy-four years.

The Milwaukee Brewers popped champagne last night to celebrate their first divisional title since 1982. I'm not sure what the Dodgers should do to celebrate Kemp if he can claim the crown this Wednesday, but it's safe to say that Dodger—and baseball aficionados alike—fans should keep in mind just how rare an accomplishment this is.