I cannot believe that we got him…this town has no idea of what an amazing player we have…he should be embraced and loved as with our great stars of the past!
It has been 45 years since it was done last.
Miguel tips his cap to the very gracious KC crowd…
Celebrating the 2012 AL Central Division Title…
October 4, 2012 at 2:07 am
Triple Crown a perfect fit for Miguel Cabrera
Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera waves as he leaves the game against the Kansas City Royals in the fourth inning Oct. 3, 2012. Cabrera became baseball’s first Triple Crown winner of the 21st century, and the first since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967, during the game against Kansas City, which the Tigers won 1-0. (Robin Buckson / The Detroit News)
Kansas City, Mo. — This is a mark for the ages, a stirring ode to old-school baseball, when hitters pulled their socks up high and just kept slugging. Miguel Cabrera did what supposedly couldn’t be done anymore, and he did it with unflinching power and uncommon calm.
Cabrera completed the unthinkable Wednesday night, capturing the game’s first Triple Crown in 45 years. And you know what’s really amazing? He’s so consistently great, once the achievement was possible, there was little doubt he’d do it.
With two outs in the fourth inning against the Royals, the game was stopped, and this was it. Cabrera was playing third, and replacement Ramon Santiago trotted in from the bench, and the crowd immediately knew what it meant. Jim Leyland recognized his star had done enough, and he gave Cabrera the moment he’d earned.
As Cabrera left the field, the crowd stood and clapped, and players in both dugouts did the same. He doffed his cap and embraced Leyland with a huge hug, and the ovation didn’t stop until Cabrera bounded back out and waved again. It was classy of the Kansas City crowd, and in the years ahead, this Triple Crown should take its place among the remarkable seasons in baseball history.
“I don’t believe this is happening right now,” Cabrera said afterward, emotion heavy in his voice. “I don’t believe three weeks ago it’s gonna happen. I don’t believe it’s supposed to happen. But you always dream. When Skip took me out, I didn’t know what to do. My mind was blank, I don’t know how to explain it. It was hard the last two weeks because everybody was talking about it.”
Cabrera was 0-for-2 Wednesday night and finished with a .330 average, 44 home runs and 139 RBIs, numbers similar to Carl Yastrzemski’s Triple Crown in 1967 — .326, 44 home runs, 121 RBIs. But with more teams and more players and more sluggers and more specialized bullpens and more media scrutiny, Cabrera’s accomplishment has to be considered even more impressive.
Handles attention well
Not that it matters to him. He might have played the whole game but Leyland had a plan, and shortly after the Angels’ Mike Trout took his last at-bat in Seattle, Cabrera came out. There were tense moments a few innings later when the Yankees’ Curtis Granderson hit his second home run against the Red Sox, his 43rd. But with the Yankees rolling, Granderson was pulled for a pinch-hitter and the feat was official.
Cabrera knew it for sure as he sat in the clubhouse with Prince Fielder and a couple other teammates, watching on TV. Justin Verlander presented him with an engraved commemorative watch. Fielder could scarcely believe he was watching his buddy complete history.
“This guy is so awesome, he doesn’t even know what he just did,” Fielder said. “He’s the best hitter in the game, the best teammate, the most humble guy I know. He’s just the best ever. I wouldn’t even have had the chance to be here if he didn’t move to third base for me. Awesome.”
Trout finished a few points behind at .326 and Granderson joined Josh Hamilton with 43 home runs. As loudly as the Royals fans saluted Cabrera, imagine the roar when the Tigers open the playoffs Saturday night against the Athletics at Comerica Park.
Leyland’s strategy with Cabrera Wednesday night was perfect. He could’ve sat him. Cabrera had a commanding lead and most of his competitors were just about finished, so this was largely ceremonial. Leyland said he played Cabrera because, “I think the whole nation should see it.”
It was worth the sight. A crowd of 30,383 was there, and the Royals announced a stunning 12,503 tickets were sold just on Wednesday. Afterward, Yastrzemski and Frank Robinson, the only other living Triple Crown winners, sent congratulations.
“It couldn’t have been better,” Leyland said. “It was a great scene, a great night for baseball. I’ve managed a lot of great players, and I’ve never seen anything like this.”
As daunting as Cabrera’s overall numbers are, his blistering stretch drive was just as astonishing. With the Tigers three games behind the White Sox on Sept. 10, Cabrera hit .356 with nine home runs and 23 RBIs the next 21 games.
Cabrera isn’t quite the Reluctant Superstar, but he’s never been comfortable standing out. That’s why he was so willing to switch from first to third base to accommodate Fielder, a classic team-oriented move. His focus during the dual chase — division title and Triple Crown — was unshakeable. He loves hitting and hates sitting, so it wasn’t difficult for him to keep playing.
Cabrera, 29, isn’t a big fan of singular attention, but he handled it well. The next debate will be whether he’s done enough to win AL MVP over Trout, and it looks like a no-brainer to me. But then, I don’t maneuver deftly through statistical theorems and algorithms.
“It’ll be probably the greatest thing I’ll ever see in my career,” catcher Alex Avila said. “He knows what’s at stake, but he’s not concerned about it. He just wants to win a World Series, like we all do.”
Cabrera’s playful nonchalance is real, and I think the big-teddy-bear personality is his shield against intrusions and pressure. He has no desire to weigh in on the MVP debate, except to acknowledge what everyone does, that Trout also has had an unbelievable season.
But sage eyes know exactly what’s on display.
“How many times can I say he’s the greatest I’ve ever seen in a Tiger uniform, by far?” Tigers legend Al Kaline said. “He’s the most feared hitter in baseball today. I just don’t want to see the computer guys take over the game of baseball like they’ve taken over every other business. In my opinion, Miggy should win it in a landslide.”
Both sides have their MVP arguments, but when the number-crunching supersedes the baseball-crunching, it makes you long for simpler times.
Defining levels of greatness is a tricky thing, but what Cabrera did requires no dressed-up statistical qualifiers. Nobody in the world hits the ball better, farther or more consistently. Cabrera doesn’t like to talk much, but that’s OK. Nothing more needs to be said.
Triple Crown winners
Triple Crown winners in the
modern era of baseball (since 1900)
1901 Nap Lajoie
1909 Ty (The Georgia Peach) Cobb
1922 Rogers (The Rajah) Hornsby
1925 Rogers Hornsby
***Note-In 1933 Jimmie Foxx & Chuck Klein both won the Triple Crown playing in Philadelphia—What an amazing season to cheer a town during the 1st Great Depression
1933 Chuck Klein
1933 Jimmie (Double X) Foxx
1934 Lou (Iron Horse) Gehrig
1937 Joe (Ducky) Medwick
STL Cardinals Gas House Gang
1942 Ted (Splendid Splinter, The Kid, Teddy Ballgame) Williams
1947 Ted Williams
1956 Mickey (The Mick) Mantle
1967-Carl (YAZ) Yastrzemski
2012-Miguel (Miggy) Cabrera
Triple Crown race
Miguel Cabrera went 0-for-2 Wednesday against the Royals before leaving the game in the fourth inning.
Here were his at-bats:
First inning: Flied out to center
Fourth inning: Struck out swinging, replaced at third by Ramon Santiago
As we are from Detroit…Its ALWAYS a good time to listen to The Temptations
Don’t look back
Since I lost my baby
You’re my everything
I wish it would rain
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