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Did You Know?

Retro Columns

DID YOU KNOW?   (first posted OCTOBER, 2012)
Posted on: 10-09-2012

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      Miguel Cabrera captured MLB's first Triple Crown
in 45 years when he hit .330 with 44-HR & 139-RBI in
      Cabrera was the first Latino player and the first
born outside the United States to win the 3-Crown.
      Cabrera became the 16th all-time Triple Crown
winner, the 14th of the modern (post-1900) era and
the 14th player to accomplish the feat. (Rogers
Hornsby and Ted Williams both did it twice.)
      DID YOU KNOW Cabrera was the second Detroit
Tiger to win the Triple Crown?
      Or was he the first?
      Let's explain...

      Ty Cobb topped the American League in the three Triple Crown
categories in leading Detroit to its third consecutive American
League pennant in 1909.
      Cobb's .377-BA was his third consecutive of nine straight and
12 overall AL batting titles.
      Cobb's homerun total in 1909 was both the least and the most.
      Cobb's Tiger HoFame teammate "Wahoo" Sam Crawford set the AL
record for least league-leading homers with seven in 1907, a mark
later tied by Braggo "Globetrotter" Roth who split the 1915 season
between the Chicago White Sox (3-HR) and Cleveland Indians (4-HR).
      Cobb's 1909 homerun total was not the least ever by a Triple Crown
winner. The very first 3-Crown winner,   Paul Hines of the NL Providence
Grays had only 4-HR in 1878. Of course, Providence only played 62 games
that year (33-27-2).
      However, Cobb's nine AL-leading homers in 1909 was the lowest
total by any modern era Triple Crown winner.
      At the same time, Cobb's 9-HR in 1909 set a record for most
inside-the-park homeruns. Cobb legged-out all nine of his homeruns
that season. Not one was hit over the outfield wall.
      Cobb hit 117 homers in his 24 year big league career. Only twice
did he top the nine he hit in his Triple Crown year, clubbing 12 in
both 1921 and 1925 after the lively ball was introduced. The only
time Cobb ever led the AL in homers was in 1909.
      Cobb's 107-RBI in 1909 marked the third time in a row he led the
AL in that category. He'd do it once more with a career-high 127
in 1911.   
      Cobb's Triple Crown accomplishment went into the record books
retroactively because baseball didn't recognize the significance of
the event at the time.
      Baseball began accurately accounting runs-batted-in in 1888.
However, it didn't become an official statistic until 1920.
      So, if that's the case, how could Cobb be a Triple Crown winner?
      In Cobb's dead-ball era runs scored were a more recognized stat
than RBIs were. If you go by that criteria, Cobb still would have been
a Triple Crown winner because he led the AL with 116 runs. It was
the first of three in a row and five times overall Cobb would lead the
league in crossing the plate.
      Cobb was the last of the four pre-1920 Triple Crown winners (two
since 1900) to be given the Triple Crown designation after he'd
achieved the feat.
      Cobb also led the American League with 216 hits, 296 total bases
and 76 stolen bases in 1909.
      Likewise, Cobb had AL-best marks of a .431 on-base percentage
and .517 slugging percentage in '09. Those were later-computed
statistics which didn't exist when Cobb played.
      Cobb and Cabrera.....King Tigers.




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