Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a solo home run during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on July 9, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
No major league baseball player has won the sport's Triple Crown -- leading his league in home runs, RBI and batting average -- since the Red Sox' Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
Perhaps this old-school stat package doesn't intrigue you that much any more, with numbers like SLG, OBA, OPS, OPS+ and WAR, among others, giving a better measure of a player's value. Nevertheless, the Triple Crown does reward power, batting average and ability to drive in runs -- and it's been 44 years since a player has been able to lead his league in all three categories.
There have been some players who came close in the intervening time. In 1972, the Cubs' Billy Williams won his only batting title, hitting .333, and finished third (by three) in home runs and second (by three) in RBI, both to Johnny Bench, who won the NL MVP. Williams also led the NL in slugging and OPS. Gary Sheffield, in 1992, won the batting title (.330) and finished third in home runs (by two, to Fred McGriff) and fifth in RBI (by nine, to Darren Daulton). Sheffield later, in 1996, finished second in home runs, sixth in RBI and 10th in batting average.
This year, two American Leaguers are dominating these categories. The Red Sox' Adrian Gonzalez currently leads the league in BA and RBI, but is well down the HR list with 17. The Blue Jays' Jose Bautista (currently sitting out with a minor injury, but hoping to be back Tuesday) leads the AL in home runs, is second to Gonzalez in batting average, and is tied for sixth with 65 RBI.
Can either of these great hitters win the Triple Crown? Vote in our poll.
Can Jose Bautista or Adrian Gonzalez win the Triple Crown in the American League this year?
Definitely! It'll just take one of them getting hot. (29 votes)
No way. It's too hard to do all three. (65 votes)
94 total votes