Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera did something that no one has done in 45 years of baseball Thursday evening when he won the triple crown (meaning he led the league in home runs, runs batted in and batting average for the season).
Cabrera finished the season with 44 home runs, a batting average of .330 and 139 runs batted in. The last person to achieve the triple-crown was Boston Red Sox player Carl Yastrzemski, who did it in 1967.
If there is one sport that gets writers waxing poetic it’s baseball, and there was no shortage of poetic description of Cabrera’s feat.
Ted Keith at Sports’ Illustrated, writes that the win didn’t happen on Thursday, but on a lot of excellent games played over the course of the season: “Winning the Triple Crown is a testament to everyday, not one-day, greatness. Cabrera won it this year because he had a great day in a lot of the 161 games he played this season.”
For The New York Times’ John Eligon, Cabrera’s personal struggles make the feat even sweeter. “Over the years, Cabrera struggled with alcohol and his weight; fought to find an established position in the field; and was traded, at age 24, from the Marlins to the Detroit Tigers. But Cabrera never lost what everyone agreed he possessed like few others: a discriminating eye at the plate and a sweet, timely and fluidly powerful swing.”
The theme of personal struggle was one that Eric Adelson at Yahoo sports picked up on, too. “Baseball legends are rarely ideal people. Cobb was angry. Williams was bitter. Mantle was an alcoholic. But when they came to bat, they were magical. They were magical for streaks, for seasons, for years. So too is Miguel Cabrera, who completed a work of baseball art on Wednesday by picking up a special brand of paintbrush that millions have used, but almost never quite as beautifully.”
The Associated Press‘ Dave Skretta said Cabrera’s quiet manner contrasted with his bold achievement: “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.”
Despite the triple crown, which fans may not see for another 50 years, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale noticed that Cabrera didn’t get quite the fanfare he deserved, as the New York Yankees’ run for the division title drew viewers away from the Tigers game. “There were no such thing as cellphones, Twitter and even the Internet the last time it happened, but Miguel Cabrera’s Triple Crown feat Wednesday still seemed lost in the dark ages.”