What is the triple crown in baseball? How many players have achieved it?
The supreme achievement in baseball, the triple crown is within reach of New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge. But how many have done it before?
Baseball, for a team sport, has a wide array of titles dedicated to individual achievement. The MVP, the Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year all celebrate individual players who have made their mark on the game, no matter where their teams finish in the standings. But one crown rises above them all. The triple crown.
In baseball, we count everything. Stats are made of stats, combinations of stats, and the permutations are almost endless. Three offensive stats, however, have stood out as the test of a true hitter since the very beginning of the modern game.
Batting average, home runs, and runs batted in are still the gold standard of hitting, even in the modern age where categories such as WAR and OBP+ are seen to be a more full picture of a hitter’s contribution to the game. This is due in large part to the fact that these stats rely on calculations of things that might have happened, whereas the original three are a plain view of what has happened.
If a hitter leads the league in any of these categories, it would be quite an achievement, but to lead in all three is known as the triple crown, the undisputed king of the hitters in baseball.
In the entirety of major league history, there have been only 12 triple crowns. However, if you extend this out to include the Negro Leagues, and why would you not, then there have been 27 triple crown winners.
Here is a full list of all 27 triple crown winners, including the Negro Leagues.
|1878||Paul Hines||Providence Grays||National League||.358||4||50|
|1887||Tip O’Neill||St. Louis Browns||American Association||.435||14||123|
|1901||Nap Lajoie||Philadelphia Athletics||American League||.426||14||125|
|1909||Ty Cobb||Detroit Tigers||American League||.377||9||109|
|1912||Heinie Zimmermann||Chicago Cubs||National League||.372||14||104|
|1921||Oscar Charleston||Homestead Grays||Negro National League||.433||15||91|
|1922||Rogers Hornsby||St. Louis Cardinals||National League||.401||42||152|
|1923||Heavy Johnson||Kansas City Monarchs||Negro National League||.406||20||120|
|1924||Oscar Charleston||NY Lincoln Giants||Eastern Colored League||.405||15||63|
|1925||Rogers Hornsby||St. Louis Cardinals||National League||.403||39||143|
|1925||Oscar Charleston||Homestead Grays||Eastern Colored League||.427||20||97|
|1926||Mule Suttles||St. Louis Stars||Negro National League||.425||32||130|
|1930||Willie Wells||St. Louis Stars||Negro National League||.411||17||114|
|1933||Jimmie Foxx||Philadelphia Athletics||American League||.356||48||163|
|1933||Chuck Klein||Philadelphia Phillies||National League||.368||28||120|
|1934||Lou Gehrig||New York Yankees||American League||.363||49||165|
|1936||Josh Gibson||Pittsburgh Crawfords||Negro National League||.389||18||66|
|1937||Joe Medwick||St. Louis Cardinals||National League||.374||31||154|
|1937||Josh Gibson||Homestead Grays||Negro National League||.417||20||73|
|1942||Ted Williams||Boston Red Sox||American League||.356||36||137|
|1942||Lennie Pearson||Newark Eagles & Homestead Grays||Negro National League||.347||11||56|
|1942||Ted Strong||Kansas City Monarchs||Negro American League||.364||6||32|
|1947||Ted Williams||Boston Red Sox||American League||.343||32||114|
|1956||Mickey Mantle||New York Yankees||American League||.353||52||130|
|1966||Frank Robinson||Baltimore Orioles||American League||.316||49||122|
|1967||Carl Yastrzemski||Boston Red Sox||American League||.326||44||121|
|2012||Miguel Cabrera||Detroit Tigers||American League||.330||44||139|
Aaron Judge is having a career season, leading either the American League or the Major Leagues in 11 offensive categories, amongst which are: home runs, RBIs, batting average, runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, walks, extra-base hits, total bases, wRC+ and WAR.
No matter what emphasis you put on which category, any way you cut it, Aaron Judge is the best hitter in the American League this year.