Forty-Five years ago, Boston's Carl Yastrzemski hit .326 with 44 home runs and 121 RBIs to win baseball's triple-crown. Yastrzemski's feat matched only 15 other players in baseball history to hit for the best average, most home runs, and most RBIs in a single season. This season, Detroit Tiger Miguel Cabrera's determination and consistency allowed him to join the ranks of only 16 other men as a triple-crown winner. In a year where baseball seemed covered in blemishes, Cabrera's remarkable achievement showed fans that great things do happen with hard work.
A batter of Miguel Cabrera's caliber rarely appears within the lifetime of a baseball fan. Fans watched as Barry Bonds shattered the single-season and all-time home run records, and many witnessed the great home run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, but steroids tainted all of those accomplishments. Typically, power batters fail to hit for average, which makes the triple-crown so elusive. Cabrera hit for .330 while belting 44 home runs and driving in 139 RBIs, and stayed under the radar most of the season, which makes his MVP season that much more incredible.
This year, Milwaukee's Ryan Braun, who hit .319 with 41 home runs and 112 RBIs, tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. The Brewers' superstar appealed a season-long suspension, won because the arbitrator made an error in transferring the results. Braun got away with cheating essentially, and nearly shared a Cabrera-like season. Also, Melky Cabrera, no relation, hit for a staggering average most of the year, but also tested positive for PEDs and dropped out of contention for the batting title in the NL. Miguel Cabrera passed his PED tests with flying colors, and surpassed the competition.
During the final two weeks of the season, a slew of opposing fans cheered Cabrera on, and in the final week he passed Josh Hamilton in the home run race. Oh yeah, and the Detroit Tigers chalked themselves into a playoff spot. Fans of all sports should appreciate the tremendous effort port forth by Miguel Cabrera. If history means anything, we may never again see a triple-crown winner again in our lifetimes.
Twitter: @RyanRShaffer

Posted in Pittsburgh Penguins

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