As Paul Goldschmidt chas atlanta braves jersey majestic es Triple Crown, a look at fun facts and figures for past winners

September 6, 2022 By Ryan Fagan 0

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Paul Goldschmidt, you might have heard, is going to win the National League MVP award this season, and it’s pretty likely that he gets all 30 first-place votes.

What is yet to be seen is how his run at the first NL Triple Crown since 1937 turns out. The Cardinals’ first basemen leads the NL in batting average and RBIs and is second in home runs. His .328 average is just north of Freddie Freeman (.324) and Jeff McNeil (.320) and his RBI total is one ahead of Pete Alonso, with nobody else within shouting distance.

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Goldschmidt has 34 homers, and that race is a doozy. Kyle Schwarber is first with 36, followed by Austin Riley (35), Goldschmidt (34), Mookie Betts (33), Alonso (31) and Christian Walker (30). Should be a fun little side plot to watch down the stretch, even if Goldschmidt doesn’t finish up top in the category.

Instead of looking at Goldschmidt’s incredible season, I wanted to take a minute to look at the rather fascinating history of the Triple Crown winners. If Goldschmidt gets there, he’d join very elite company (a complete list is below). The Triple Crown has only been won 15 times in AL/NL history, 10 times in Negro Leagues baseball and once in the American Association, way back in 1887. 

Let’s take a look.

Triple Crown = World Series

Here’s the one Cardinals fans are going to love: The last four players to win the Triple Crown all went to the World Series. Bodes well, right? 

Here are the four: Mickey Mantle in 1956, Frank Robinson in 1966, Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 and Miguel Cabrera in 2012. Mantle and Robinson’s teams won it all, Yastrzemski and Cabrera’s teams did not.

And it’s not like this was a common thing in the history of Triple Crown winners. 

Ty Cobb won the Triple Crown in 1909, and his Tigers went to the World Series that year. After that, the next nine winners — all in the pre-expansion era — failed to reach the postseason. Most didn’t even come close, playing on teams that were slightly north of .500 but nowhere near the top of the league. 

The multi-timers

The legendary Oscar Charleston is the only player to win the black atlanta braves jersey Triple Crown three times: 1921, 1924 and 1925. He topped the .400 mark all three times, and all three times had more RBIs than games played. 

Rogers Hornsby was the first AL/NL player to win a second Triple Crown, and he turned the trick for the second time the same year Charleston won his third, 1925. Both accomplishments came in a stretch when he was, by far, the NL's best hitter, playing for the Cardinals. For a six-year span, 1920-25, Hornsby led the NL in average, on-base percentage and slugging every season, with a combined slash line of .397/.467/.666, good for an OPS of 1.113.

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Ted Williams became the second and last AL/NL player to own a pair of Triple Crowns; he won the first in 1942 and the second in 1947. Somehow, he didn’t win the AL MVP either year, despite having vastly superior — folks, it wasn’t even close — numbers compared with the winner. Both times he lost out to guys named Joe with the Yankees, DiMaggio in 1942 and Gordon in 1947.

It’s a damn travesty.

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Mostly, though, I want to talk about Josh Gibson. He’s the onlyMLB Shoes and Socks player in the major leagues to turn the trick in back-to-back seasons: 1936 with the Pittsburgh Crawfords and 1937 with the Homestead Grays. The Negro League seasons were shorter than NL/AL seasons, so his counting numbers don’t match other TC winners, but his production was nothing short of incredible, at any level. 

In 50 games in 1936, Gibson had 18 homers, 66 RBIs and a .389 average. In 39 games in 1937, Gibson hit 20 homers, to go with an incredible 73 RBIs and .417 average.

One of those 1937 home runs was the stuff of legend. In the June 3, 1967 issue of The Sporting News, a reader asked whether the rumors of Gibson hitting a ball out of Yankee Stadium were true.

Here’s the reply: “Gibson hit one in a National Negro League game that hit the escarpments in front of the 161st Street elevated railway, about 580 feet from home plate. It has been estimated that if the drive would have been two feet higher, it would have sailed out of the park and traveled some 700 feet.”

By the numbers

Let’s do a breakdown of the AL/NL Triple Crown leaders.

Highest batting average
.426, Nap Lajoie, 1901
.403, Rogers Hornsby, 1925
.401, Rogers Hornsby, 1922

Lowest batting average
.316, Frank Robinson, 1966

Most home runs
52, Mickey Mantle, 1956

Fewest home runs
4, Paul Hines, 1887
9, Ty Cobb, 1909

Most RBIs
166, Lou Gehrig, 1934

Fewest RBIs
104, Heinie Zimmerman, 1912

AL/NL MVP winners
Miguel Cabrera, 2012 AL
Carl Yastrzemski, 1967 AL
Frank Robinson, 1966 AL    
Mickey Mantle, 1956 AL    
Joe Medwick, 1937 NL    
Jimmie Foxx, 1933 AL    
Rogers Hornsby, 1925 NL    

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Didn’t win MVP
Ted Williams, 1947 AL (Second to Joe DiMaggio, by one point. Mind-boggling)
Ted Williams, 1942 AL (Second to Joe Gordon, by 21 points. Also mind-boggling)
Lou Gehrig, 1934 AL (Fifth, somehow)
Chuck Klein, 1933 NL (Second to Carl Hubbel, who had an amazing season as a pitcher)
Rogers Hornsby, 1922 NL (No NL MVP that year)
Heinie Zimmerman, 1912 NL (Tied for 6th)
Ty Cobb, 1909 AL (No MVP yet)
Nap Lajoie, 1901 AL (No MVP yet)

A different type of home run

Baseball was such a different sport in the early days, obviously.

When Ty Cobb won the Triple Crown at 22 years old in 1909, he did so with just nine home runs, two ahead of AL runner-up Tris Speaker. It was the only time in his Hall of Fame career that Cobb ever led the league in that category, and three short of his career high (12, in 192 atlanta braves all star game jersey 2 and 1925). 

Here’s a fun fact: All nine of Cobb’s home runs in 1909 were inside-the-park home runs. True story. That’s the most for any player in a single season in baseball history. And let’s answer your immediate first qMLB Pennants and Flagsuestion: Um, did his home ballpark have fences? 

Yep. Bennett Park had an odd footprint, for sure, but it had outfield fences. It was 480 feet to center field and 440 feet to right field, but only 295 in left. Here’s maybe a more telling fact, when it comes to Cobb’s nine inside-the-parkers, from a SABR article on the ballpark. 

Bennett Park’s playing surface was inadequate at best, and downright dangerous at worst. This was due to the fact that the former hay market had a cobblestone surface; when the park was built, not enough dirt had been put on top, and as a result the stones sometimes protruded through the grass and dirt, making for a treacherous field. The park’s groundskeepers only raked the field once a week, which certainly didn’t help matters.

So, yeah. Crazy bounces and flailing outfielders seems like a good recipe for inside-the-park homers. Here are a few other fun Cobb facts from that year. Cobb also led the league in stolen bases, with 76. He atlanta braves jersey 40 was the second person to turn that trick (Jimmy Sheckard did so in 1903, with nine h atlanta braves home jersey omers and 63 stolen bases) and only one other player would ever do that: Chuck Klein in 1932, with 38 homers and 20 stolen bases to lead the NL. Klein, by the way, won the Triple Crown the very next year, but with only 28 homers.

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Cobb had 19 seasons with at least 450 plate appearances; his .377 batting average in 1909 ranks 11th of those 19 seasons. In the following four seasons, from 1910-13, Cobb hit .382, .419, .409 and .389, for a cumulative average of .401. He hit exactly .401 in 1922, his Age 35 season, and topped that .377 mark for the final time in 1925, with a .378 mark.

Oh, and remember how we told you that Cobb was the first Triple Crown winner to reach the World Series? It was the third year in a row he MLB Pajamas| Keychains led the Tigers to the World Series, but it was also the last time he’d get to the postseason. He didn’t retire until 1928.

Cardinals fans probably don’t like that as much.

Complete list of every MLB Triple Crown winner

Here ya go.

2012: AL, Miguel Cabrera, Tigers, .330, 44 HR, 139 RBI
1967: AL, Carl Yastrzemski, Red Sox, .326, 44 HR, 121 RBI
1966: AL, Frank Robinson, Orioles, .316, 49 HR, 122 RBI
1956: AL, Mickey Mantle, Yankees, .353, 52 HR, 130 RBI
1947: AL, Ted Williams, Red Sox, .343, 32 HR, 114 RBI
1942: AL, Ted Williams, Red Sox, .356, 36 HR, 137 RBI
1942: NAL, Ted Strong, Monarchs, .364, 6 HR, 32 RBI
1942: NN2, Lennie Pearson, Eagles/Grays, .347, 11 HR, 56 RBI
1937: NL, Joe Medwick, Cardinals, .374, 31 HR, 154 RBI
1937: NN2, Josh Gibson, Grays, .417, 20 HR, 73 RBI
1936: NN2, Josh Gibson, Crawfords, .389, 18 HR, 66 RBI
1934: AL, Lou Gehrig, Yankees, .363, 49 HR, 166 RBI
1933: AL, Jimmie Foxx, A’s, .356, 48 HR, 163 RBI
1933: NL, Chuck Klein, Phillies, .368, 28 HR, 120 RBI
1930: NNL, Willie Wells, Stars, .411, 17 HR, 114 RBI
1926: NNL, Mule Suttles, Stars, .425, 32 HR, 130 RBI
1925: ECL, Oscar Charleston, Giants, .427, 20 HR, 97 RBI
1925: NL, Rogers Hornsby, Cardinals, .403, 39 HR, 143 RBI
1924: ECL, Oscar Charleston, Giants, .405, 15 HR, 63 RBI
1923: NNL, Heavy Johnson, Monarchs, .406, 20 HR, 120 RBI
1922: NL, Rogers Hornsby, Cardinals, .401, 42 HR, 152 RBI
1921: NNL, Oscar Charleston, Giants, .433, 15 HR, 91 RBI
1912: NL, Heinie Zimmerman, Cubs, .372, 14 HR, 104 RBI
1909: AL, Ty Cobb, Tigers, .377, 9 HR, 107 RBI
1901: AL, Nap Lajoie, A’s, .426, 14 HR, 125 RBI
1887: AA, Tip O’Neill, Browns, .435, 14 HR, 123 RBI
1878: NL, Paul Hines, Grays, .358, 4 HR, 50 RBI