By Lindsey Miner
Wednesday marked a monumental day in baseball history. Miguel Cabrera, the Detroit Tigers third baseman, accomplished what baseball players only dream about. He won baseball’s coveted Triple Crown. Cabrera became the first player in forty-five years to accomplish this feat, leading the American League with 44 home runs, a .330 batting average and 139 RBIs.
“Some people can be first in two of the categories, but it’s rare to take all three,” Baylor’s senior shortstop Jake Miller said. “There’s always a Triple Crown race every year, but no one actually gets it. It’s pretty difficult because there’s so many great players in the league.”
On Wednesday night, Cabrera earned this achievement on the road against the Kansas City Royals. The fans at Kauffman Stadium gave Cabrera a standing ovation before his first at bat, and again in the fourth inning after manager Jim Leyland pulled him from the game. By the sixth inning, Cabrera sat in the Tigers’ clubhouse to await the news of his achievement. Cabrera’s success was realized after Rangers’ Josh Hamilton failed to homer in five at bats, finishing with 43.
Brooks Pinckard, a pitcher in the Cincinnati Reds minor league organization said Cabrera’s winning the Triple Crown “kept the fans intrigued to see, not only how he would do, but others he was competing against such as Hamilton with home runs or [Mike] Trout with batting average.”
Commissioner Bud Selig commented to ESPN on the history made and the success of Cabrera. He called it “a remarkable achievement that places him amongst an elite few in all of baseball history.”
Fellow Tigers teammate, 25-year-old catcher Alex Avila, described the achievement to reporters as foreign to current players around his age. “That’ll probably be the greatest thing that I’ll ever see in my career,” Avila said.
Cabrera had his major league debut in 2003 with the Florida Marlins. As a rookie, he helped lead the Marlins to a World Series title that same year. At the age of 24, Cabrera was traded to the Detroit Tigers, where he earned his Triple Crown title.
“He’s a great hitter and a big- time threat,” Pinckard said. “Also, having Fielder behind him helped him out to be able to win the Triple Crown.”
Although the Triple Crown was decided on Wednesday, MVP will not be awarded until November. There is argument over whether the award, voted on by select members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, should go to Cabrera or Mike Trout.
Trout, a rookie for the Los Angeles Angels, was called up from the minors three weeks into the season.
Trout finished the season batting .326, second to Cabrera, with 30 home runs and 83 RBIs. He also led the league with stolen bases (49) and runs (129). “Winning the Triple Crown is such a rare and tough accomplishment, that it would only make sense that he [Cabrera] should get the MVP,” Baylor Baseball’s Assistant Coach Gregg Glime said.
“Any other year Trout would win the MVP, but it just so happened that a Triple Crown accomplishment came in the same year,” Glime said. While MVP is still up for debate, baseball celebrated 45 years of history in the making Wednesday night. Baseball fans get to witness Cabrera, one of history’s greatest hitters, in action this week against the Oakland A’s.