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National League Triple Crown Winners: Quality Over Quantity

Yahoo Contributor Network

Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers has a chance this year to join some elite baseball company. Baseball has not seen a Triple Crown winner -- a hitter leading the league in home runs, runs batted in, and batting average -- since 1967.

Cabrera would become the ninth American League player to win the coveted honor. In the National League, however, only three different men have pulled off the trick.

Joe Medwick, St. Louis Cardinals, 1937 (.374 batting average, 31 HRs, 154 RBIs) - Medwick won the National League MVP for his Triple Crown campaign. His 154 RBIs in 1937 is still the all-time Cardinals record for a single season. Medwick won the batting title by 10 points over teammate Johnny Mize. He also led the NL in runs scored, doubles, slugging percentage, on-base plus slugging, and total bases. He won the 1937 NL MVP Award.

Chuck Klein, Philadelphia Phillies, 1933 (.368, 28, 120) - Hall of Famer Klein is the only non-Cardinal who has ever won the NL Triple Crown. In 1932, Klein won the NL MVP Award, and he followed that by winning the Triple Crown the next season. There was a Triple Crown winner in both leagues in 1933, the only time that has happened. Klein's heroics didn't help the Phillies much. They were 60-92 and finished seventh in the National League.

Rogers Hornsby, St. Louis Cardinals, 1925 (.403, 39, 143) - Rogers Hornsby was one of the greatest hitters to ever play. In 1925, he won his second NL Triple Crown, and he set some Cardinals records that stand today. Between his two Triple Crown seasons, 1922 and 1925, Hornsby set more than a half-dozen St. Louis records. His 1925 slugging percentage of .756 is still the Cardinals' single-season record as is his on-base percentage of .507.

Rogers Hornsby, St. Louis Cardinals, 1922 (.401, 42, 152) - Hornsby's 1922 season was one of the greatest ever for a Cardinal, and that is saying something for a franchise that can brag of Stan Musial and Albert Pujols. His 141 runs scored is a St. Louis best in the modern era, and he knocked out 250 hits, also a franchise record. The Rajah led the league with 450 total bases, another Cardinals record. Hornsby cranked out 102 extra-base hits in 1922. This was one of the more lopsided Triple Crown races: Hornsby won the batting title by nearly 50 points, the home-run race by 16, and he topped the NL by 20 runs batted in.

A native of St. Louis, Brad Boeker has rooted for the Cardinals for over 40 years.
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