Major League Baseball's Triple Crown Winners
By Loot, MLB Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
The MLB "Triple Crown" is a coveted award given to a baseball player who leads the major leagues in the following three categories: batting average, home runs and RBI's. As you can see from the short list below, it's not an easy task. In fact, there was a 45 year gap of no triple crown award winners between 1967 when Carl Yastrzemski won it and in 2012 when Miguel Cabrera pulled it off. The reason the award is so rare to achieve is that most power hitters don't hit for a high batting average.
Paul Hines, 1878, .358, 4 HR, 50 RBI: A member of the Providence Grays, Hines was one of the better players from baseball’s very early days. He didn’t even know he won the Triple Crown, as RBI was not even counted, home runs were rare and an obscure stat, and he only won the batting crown retroactively.
Tip O’Neill, 1887, .435, 14 HR, 123 RBI: The only Triple Crown winner from the American Association, O’Neill was a great player for the St. Louis Browns. The left fielder played for a decade, hitting a career .326.
Hugh Duffy, 1894, .440, 18 HR, 145 RBI: As a member of the Boston Beaneaters, Duffy was one of the foremost hitters of the pre-1900 era, as evidenced by his record-setting 1894 campaign, where he hit a phenomenal .440, which is the highest batting average ever recorded in the big leagues.
Nap Lajoie, 1901, .426, 14 HR, 125 RBI: Lajoie was one of the greatest hitters of all-time, as he hit for average and power (for the time). His 1901 season established him as the top dog in baseball at the turn of the century.
Ty Cobb, 1909, .377, 9 HR, 107 RBI: Considered by many as baseball’s finest-ever hitter, Cobb had many seasons like his 1909 campaign, where he not only led the American league, but all the majors in the 3 top categories.
Rogers Hornsby, 1922, .401, 42 HR, 152 RBI: The first triple crown winner to post power numbers that fans associate with modern home run hitting, Hornsby won his first of 2 Triple Crowns in 1922. Hitting .400, with over 40 homers and 150 RBI is phenomenal in any era. Hornsby is one of the more impressive offensive producers in the game’s history.
Rogers Hornsby, 1925, .403, 39 HR, 143 RBI: Hornsby became the first player to win a pair of Triple Crowns with another gigantic season in 1925, where he again hit .400, while posting robust power stats. He led all the majors in these 3 categories.
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Chuck Klein, 1933, .368, 20 HR, 120 RBI: The Philadelphia Phillies star was a tremendous hitter, overshadowed by some other greats of the era. In 1933, however, Klein reigned supreme as the National League’s top offensive threat by joining the fraternity of Triple Crown winners.
Jimmie Foxx, 1933, .356, 48 HR, 163 RBI: In the only year where a Triple Crown was won by players in both leagues, Foxx was the top dog--with gigantic run production to go along with a great batting average. Foxx always seemed to put up eye-popping stats.
Lou Gehrig, 1934, .363, 49 HR, 165 RBI: A huge year by the “Iron Horse,” Gehrig led the Majors in all three major categories in one of his finest seasons. With all the wonderful Yankees hitters of the first half of the 20th century, Gehrig was the only won to win the Triple Crown.
Joe Medwick, 1937, .374, 31 HR, 154 RBI: The Cardinals left fielder was a fine hitter, batting .324 lifetime and providing robust run production. 1937 was a banner year for Medwick, as he became the 4th player in the 1930’s to win the Triple Crown. All these years later, Medwick is the last National League player to win the Triple Crown.
Ted Williams, 1942, .356, 36 HR. 137 RBI: Here comes Teddy Baseball. Considered by many as the finest hitter of the modern era, Williams bagged his first of 2 Triple Crowns in 1942 and who knows how many he would have if not for WWII. In 1942, Williams led the Majors in all three major categories.
Ted Williams, 1947, .343, 32 HR, 114 RBI: Williams became the second and last player to win the Triple Crown twice, as the Hall of Famer had another in a long line of stellar seasons for the Boston Red Sox.
Mickey Mantle, 1956, .353, 52 HR, 130 RBI: One of the greatest talents to grace the baseball diamond, Mantle put it all together in 1956, leading all of baseball in the Triple Crown categories. It would be the last time a player won the Triple Crown for all of baseball.
Frank Robinson, 1966, .316, 49 HR, 122 RBI: Robinson has a banner year in 1966 with the Baltimore Orioles. While offensive stats dipped during this period of the game’s history, Robinson still managed to notch one of the better seasons in team history, as he joined the exclusive club of Triple Crown winners.
Carl Yastrzemski, 1967, .326, 44 HR, 121 RBI: “Yaz” joined Williams as the only Red Sox players to win the Triple Crown with a big 1967 campaign that saw him join elite company. With Robinson having won the year before, it was surprising that it would be over 4 decades before the next Triple Crown winner.
Miguel Cabrera, 2012, .330, 44 HR, 139 RBI: The Tigers star became the chosen one who finally broke through with a triple Crown in 2012--the first time it was won in 45 years. Cabrera always seemed like the likeliest candidate to win the Triple Crown--the cream of the crop among hitters of his time.