Congratulations to Miguel Cabrera for winning Major League Baseball’s hitting Triple Crown. By leading the American League with 44 home runs, a .330 batting average and batting in 139 runs, the Detroit Tigers’ third-baseman collects one of baseball’s highest and most difficult honors.
On Wednesday, the final day of the Major League Baseball regular season, Miggy, as many call him, won the Triple Crown for only the seventeenth time in the last 134 years and only the tenth time in the modern era. Cabrera is the first infielder to win the award since Lou Gehrig did it in 1934. Cabrera is also the first player since Carl “Yaz” Yastrzemski won it in 1967 for the Boston Red Sox. This is the biggest gap in the history of the Triple Crown. The longest span before 1967 was ten years.
Think of how much the world has changed since then. There are approximately 114,068,912 more people in the United States now. The price of a gallon of gas was $0.33 and the federal government only spent $157 billion in 1967. We have since landed on the moon, ended the Cold War, got 52 American hostages back safely from Iran, witnessed the advent of the Internet, have seen the digital revolution change just about every aspect of our lives and countless more events.
In those 45 years since Yaz took the Triple Crown, the Red Sox won their first world title in 86 years and the Chicago Cubs have gone more than a century without winning another World Series. There are only five big-league parks still in existence when Yastrzemski hammered 44 home runs, 121 Runs Battled In and finished with a .326 average.
Needless to say, winning the hitting Triple Crown is a big deal. Cabrera has remained humble even though this is only the tenth time since 1920 this has happened. He didn’t want to be taken out of the game on Wednesday against Kansas City, a move that was made to preserve his batting average after a 0-2 start to the game. In fact, Cabrera hasn’t wanted to be taken out of many games over his career. He has played in 160 or more games four of the last five seasons.
In an era in which baseball has been stained by steroid abuse, it is great to finally see some positive news come from the majors. There couldn’t be a better role model for the MLB in Miguel Cabrera. He quietly goes about his business, just doing his job. His commitment to putting team before self should be practiced by every player, no matter the sport.