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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?

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?
Sarah StierAFP

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.

1878Paul HinesProvidence GraysNational League.358450
1887Tip O’NeillSt. Louis BrownsAmerican Association.43514123
1901Nap LajoiePhiladelphia AthleticsAmerican League.42614125
1909Ty CobbDetroit TigersAmerican League.3779109
1912Heinie ZimmermannChicago CubsNational League.37214104
1921Oscar CharlestonHomestead GraysNegro National League.4331591
1922Rogers HornsbySt. Louis CardinalsNational League.40142152
1923Heavy JohnsonKansas City MonarchsNegro National League.40620120
1924Oscar CharlestonNY Lincoln GiantsEastern Colored League.4051563
1925Rogers HornsbySt. Louis CardinalsNational League.40339143
1925Oscar CharlestonHomestead GraysEastern Colored League.4272097
1926Mule SuttlesSt. Louis StarsNegro National League.42532130
1930Willie WellsSt. Louis StarsNegro National League.41117114
1933Jimmie FoxxPhiladelphia AthleticsAmerican League.35648163
1933Chuck KleinPhiladelphia PhilliesNational League.36828120
1934Lou GehrigNew York YankeesAmerican League.36349165
1936Josh GibsonPittsburgh CrawfordsNegro National League.3891866
1937Joe MedwickSt. Louis CardinalsNational League.37431154
1937Josh GibsonHomestead GraysNegro National League.4172073
1942Ted WilliamsBoston Red SoxAmerican League.35636137
1942Lennie PearsonNewark Eagles & Homestead GraysNegro National League.3471156
1942Ted StrongKansas City MonarchsNegro American League.364632
1947Ted WilliamsBoston Red SoxAmerican League.34332114
1956Mickey MantleNew York YankeesAmerican League.35352130
1966Frank RobinsonBaltimore OriolesAmerican League.31649122
1967Carl YastrzemskiBoston Red SoxAmerican League.32644121
2012Miguel CabreraDetroit TigersAmerican League.33044139

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.


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