Posted: Oct 3, 2012 8:43 PM by Andrew Masuda
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Miguel Cabrera became the 15th player to win baseball's Triple Crown on Wednesday night, the reluctant superstar thrust into the spotlight after joining an elite list that includes Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig.
The Detroit Tigers' slugger topped the American League with a .330 batting average, 44 home runs and 139 RBIs, becoming the first Triple Crown winner in the majors since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
Cabrera's achievement wasn't assured until the Yankees pinch-hit for Curtis Granderson in their 14-2 rout of the Boston Red Sox. Granderson had homered twice to reach 43 for the year, tied with the Rangers' Josh Hamilton and one shy of Cabrera.
Cabrera went 0 for 2 against the Royals before leaving in the fourth inning to a standing ovation. He finished the regular season hitting four points higher than Angels rookie Mike Trout, his toughest competition for AL MVP. Cabrera was the runaway leader with 139 RBIs.
It takes a special breed to hit for average, power and in clutch situations, which is why there have only been 15 players to achieve baseball's version of the Triple Crown, an honor roll that includes iconic players such as Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig. Williams and Rogers Hornsby each accomplished the feat twice.
To put it in perspective, consider horse racing's Triple Crown.
The last thoroughbred to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes in the same year was Affirmed in 1978, more than a full decade after Yastrzemski's magical summer in Boston.
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