Miguel Cabrera is on the verge of something historic.
Cabrera enters the final weekend of the regular season with a .329 batting average, 44 home runs, and 137 RBI, all of which currently lead the American League. If he maintains these leads, Cabrera would become the first MLB player to win the Triple Crown since 1967, when Carl Yastrzemski accomplished the feat during with the Boston Red Sox.
His lead in all three categories is far from safe, however. Mike Trout could pass Cabrera in batting average by going 4-for-4, while four different players are within three of Cabrera’s home run total. His edge in RBI does appear safe, though only a fool would doubt the ability of second-place Josh Hamilton (127 RBI) to have a monster weekend.
Since the Tigers clinched the division with their win on Monday, it would be easy for Cabrera to sit out the last two games of the season against the Kansas City Royals and take the chance that nobody will pass him in any of the three Triple Crown categories.
Cabrera, however, wants no part of that idea and instead plans on playing both games.
This story should sound familiar to any fan of Major League Baseball, as a very similar instance happened to Ted Williams back in 1941.
Heading into the final weekend, Williams was presented with the option of sitting out a season-ending doubleheader in an effort to preserve his .400 batting average, a mark that had not been achieved since 1930. Williams, however, claimed that "The record's no good unless it's made in all the games” and refused to pull himself out of the starting lineup. He would go 6-for-9 over the weekend, boosting his average up to .406 on the season.
To date, Williams is the last player in MLB history to finish a full season with a .400 batting average.
Was Cabrera inspired by Williams when he made the decision? Possibly. Is he worried about somebody passing him on the leaderboards? Perhaps. But if Williams’ legacy is any indication, Cabrera’s triple crown will only be enhanced by his decision to play out the rest of the season.
Either way, it most certainly will not hurt his candidacy when it comes to the MVP voting.