Detroit Tigers Slugger Miguel Cabrera Does The Near Impossible; Wins Baseball’s Triple Crown, AL MVP Likely

Sports Illustrated’s Ted Keith on baseball’s highest achievement, Tigers Miguel Cabrera wins the coveted Triple Crown:

It is part of baseball’s endless charm that history can be made anywhere at anytime by almost anyone. Who, when this season began back in March halfway around the world, could have imagined that a pitcher who had to win his job in spring training and lost it by mid-season would throw a perfect game? Or that a slugger who missed most of last season with injury would do something Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth never did and hit four home runs in one game? Or that a team that had been in first place only one day before, more than six months ago after playing in Japan while 28 other teams were still in camp, would become the first ever to make up a five-game deficit with nine games to go and win a division title?

In a season that will be remembered for its surprises, we probably should have seen the last and most long-awaited piece of history coming long before Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera left Wednesday night’s game in Kansas City with insurmountable leads in the American League for batting average (.330), home runs (44) and RBIs (139), the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years.

Cabrera has been so good for so long — he entered this season having already led his league in each individual Triple Crown category at one time or another and had posted six .300 seasons, seven 30-home run campaigns and eight 100-RBI years — that it should have been just a matter of time before he did something truly unforgettable.

The truth, though, is that history did not take place Wednesday night in Kansas City — and not just because Cabrera did nothing memorable in his 0-for-2 evening. No, this piece of history happened Tuesday night in Kansas City, and last Wednesday night in Detroit; it happened in Minnesota in August and Boston in July; Pittsburgh in June, Oakland in May and always, always in Detroit. It happened against left-handed pitchers and right-handed pitchers, in day games and night games, in cold weather and warm weather. It happened over the course of six grueling months.

Winning the Triple Crown is a testament to everyday, not one-day, greatness. Cabrera won it this year because he had a great day in a lot of the 161 games he played this season.

That greatness should come as no surprise to anyone who has watched Cabrera pound major league pitching with amazing consistency since he first debuted with the Florida Marlins as a baby-faced 20-year-old in 2003. After an impressive rookie season for the eventual world champions that year, Cabrera embarked on a path of brilliance that may yet end in Cooperstown. In his nine full seasons he has averaged .321/..399/.567 with 34 home runs and 118 RBIs per year, and overall since 2004 he ranks first in RBIs, third in batting average, fourth in hits and slugging percentage, fifth in home runs and seventh in on-base percentage.

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Posted on October 5, 2012, in Major League Baseball and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Detroit Tigers Slugger Miguel Cabrera Does The Near Impossible; Wins Baseball’s Triple Crown, AL MVP Likely.

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