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Friday, November 16, 2012

Miguel Cabrera: how good was his triple crown?

BA: .330    Mike Trout .326 1.2%
HR: 44    Josh Hamilton 43 2.3%
RBI: 139    Josh Hamilton 128 8.6%

Miguel Cabrera led the Amrican Conference in batting average (BA), home runs (HR) and runs batted in (RBI).  Above are the percent difference (difference / lower number) between Cabrera and the batters who finished second.  Those percent differences are modest but Cabrera was competing against many more batters than did those who achieved a triple crown since 1903.

See my research from August 2011 and decide for yourself how Cabrera fits in.  Some excerpts:

The main reason that it has not been done since 1967 is that there are 87.5% more teams and players than before modern expansion started in 1961 (AL) and 1962 (NL).  MLB has gone from 16 teams to 30.  The only two to do it after that were Frank Robinson (1966) and Carl Yastrzemski (1967) when there were still only 20 teams.  MLB expanded to 24 teams in 1969 and that pretty much ended the triple crown.  Plus, Robinson and Yastrzemski had the lowest BA of any triple crown winners...

Consider some sluggers who led in BA who did not do it: Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Alex Rodriguez and Pujols.  This suggests the random nature of the triple crown...

Frank Robinson finished first only once in all three but they all happened to occur in the same season.  Three others finished first in two of the three only once: Medwick, Mantle and Yastrzemski...

Triple crown in one season including twice for two time winners Hornsby and Williams:
                                BA        HR        RBI
Average                        .361        38        136
Ave without Cobb                .3599        41        138

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