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Where does Miguel Cabrera rank among the Triple Crown seasons?

October 04, 2012|By Houston Mitchell
  • Miguel Cabrera won the first Triple Crown in 45 years.
Miguel Cabrera won the first Triple Crown in 45 years. (Orlin Wagner/ Associated…)

Detroit's Miguel Cabrera became the first baseball player to win his league's Triple Crown in 45 years when he finished the 2012 season leading the AL in batting average (.330), home runs (44) and RBIs (139).

Cabrera is only the 14th Triple Crown winner since 1901, but where does his season rank among all Triple Crown winners?

Using a stat called OPS+ can help give us an answer. Basically, what OPS+ does is allow people to judge players across eras. OPS compares your stats to the league average and assign a value. A player who is exactly league average will have an OPS+ of 100. A player with an OPS+ of 110 is 10% better than an average player. A player who has an OPS+ of 90 is 10% worse.

So, here are how the Triple Crown seasons rank:

1. Ted Williams (1942 Boston Red Sox, .356, 36, 137, 216 OPS+)

2. Rogers Hornsby (1925 St. Louis Cardinals, .403, 39, 143, 210 OPS+)

2. Mickey Mantle (1956 New York Yankees, .353, 52, 130, 210 OPS+)

4. Rogers Hornsby (1922 St. Louis Cardinals, .401, 42, 152, 207 OPS+)

5. Lou Gehrig (1934 New York Yankees, .363, 49, 165, 206 OPS+)

6. Ted Williams (1947 Boston Red Sox, .343, 32, 114, 205 OPS+)

7. Jimmie Foxx (1933 Philadelphia Athletics, .356, 48, 163, 201 OPS+)

8. Napoleon Lajoie (1901 Philadelphia Athletics, .426, 14, 125, 198 OPS+)

8. Frank Robinson (1966 Baltimore Orioles, .316, 49, 122, 198 OPS+)

10. Ty Cobb (1909 Detroit Tigers, .377, 9, 107, 193 OPS+)

10. Carl Yastrzemski (1967 Boston Red Sox, .326, 44, 121, 193 OPS+)

12. Joe Medwick (1937 St. Louis Cardinals, .374, 31, 154, 182 OPS+)

13. Chuck Klein (1933 Philadelphia Phillies, .368, 28, 120, 176 OPS+)

14. Miguel Cabrera (2012 Detroit Tigers, .330, 44, 139, 166 OPS+)

So, by this metric, Cabrera had the worst season of any Triple Crown winner. Which is sort of like being the third richest man in the world. Sure, you're not No. 1, but you still have plenty to be happy about.

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