It is truly amazing.
Here it is, on the cusp of something special, just two days removed from the culmination of something that hasn’t happened in 45 years … and most baseball fans haven’t even so much as expended a yawn about it.
Pssst, wake up. In case you haven’t noticed, what Miguel Cabrera is going, well, it isn’t likely to happen in your lifetime again.
With 160 games in the books, the Detroit third baseman leads the American League in batting average, home runs and RBIs. The last time a full slate was completed and a player stood atop all three categories, Carl Yastrzemski was just getting into the meat of his Hall of Fame career.
The Boston outfielder’s line went .326, 44 and 121.
Cabrera’s numbers are comparable, just better: .329, 44 and 137.
Point is, Cabrera’s numbers are better than anyone else’s in the AL this season … and the fact most seem to be oblivious to that, or lack an appreciation for that, is kinda mind-boggling.
We keep hearing about the Angels’ Mike Trout, maybe Josh Hamilton of Texas, a handful of pitchers and perhaps the races to the postseason that are routine for every season. It’s only Cabrera who is doing something truly unique in the equation.
If anything, this is looking more and more like a lifetime achievement award that would get stuffed into the back end of some drawn-out, entertainment show.
Here, you’ve been great for such a long time. We’re too busy to notice what you’re doing now, or too preoccupied with the latest thing. But we’ve heard good things … somewhere, about you – and we wanted, you know, to show some love.
Honestly, it’s pretty comical. Cabrera merely has supplanted Albert Pujols as the best offensive force of this generation. He’d been lurking in the latter’s massive shadow for close to a decade, almost serving as a 1A to King Albert’s ultra-exclusive 1. His numbers were never that far off from the big fella’s production, but they were just a tad shy.
Now, he’s about to do something that Pujols, nor anyone else since 1967, was able to do: capture a Triple Crown.
It’s time America woke up and recognized that.
Before reaching his crowning moment, Cabrera will have to hold off Trout and Hamilton these last two days of the regular season. The former trails him by just 4 points in the batting average chase and Hamilton has just one fewer homers. Cabrera, in fact, had been fading over the last week, but rebounded with a 4-for-5 effort Monday night that included his best-in-baseball 44th bomb.
INTERESTING TO NOTE
Though it’s been four and a half decades since the last hitter posted a Triple Crown, pitchers have enjoyed a rash of “Trips” in the past decade. Five, in fact, have earned the honor of most wins, most strikeouts and lowest ERA in specific seasons, including Cabrera’s teammate, Justin Verlander, last season. The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw pulled the same feat in the NL.
SPEAKING OF …
Verlander and Kershaw, most would agree, remain the dominant pitchers in their respective circuits, with the former leading the AL in strikeouts and ranking second in ERA and the latter leading the NL in ERA and ranking second in strikeouts. But neither will repeat as Cy Young recipients, not with two 20-game winners each in the AL and NL. Verlander has 17 victories and Kershaw 13.