Aaron Judge is having the kind of season that has led betting websites to wonder whether he can win the vaunted Triple Crown. Before we go any further, this does not involve Bill Brasky throwing a saddle on his back and riding him around Wyoming for three days until his stamina increases with each day and he develops tremendous leg muscles and Brasky decides to enter him in the Kentucky Derby under the name Turkish Delight. We are talking about the Major League Baseball Triple Crown here which, to be honest is as hard if not harder to win than the horsy version.
A baseball player is triply-crowned when he leads a league – either the American League or the National League – or the League – the all of Major League Baseball, if he’s truly a super-duper-overachiever – in in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in (RBI) in a single season. the only player to have achieved such trifecta since 1967 was Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera in 2012, when he lead the AL with 44 homers, 139 RBIs, and .330 batting average. By the way, 10 of 17 Triple Crown winners played in the AL when they accomplished that feat (11 if one counts the American Association) including the last six straight, which something betting websites should take note of, seeing as how Judge plays with the Yankees who in turn play in the American League.
In addition to Cabrera, Judge could join such Hall of Famers as Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams, and Mickey Mantle. Cobb won the Triple Crown in 1909 with the fewest home runs ever (9) all of which were inside the park. Additionally, he led the MLB with .377 batting average and 107 RBIs as a member of the Tigers. Hornsby led the National League with a then-record 42 home runs, .401 average, and 152 RBIs in 1922, and became the first player to repeat the accolade when he led the Majors with .403 batting average, 39 home runs, and 143 RBIs in 1925. He was a St. Louis Cardinals both times.
Gehrig became the first Yankee to win the Triple Crown when he led the MLB with 49 homers, 165 runs batted in, and .363 batting average in 1934. BoSox left fielder Williams became the second two-time Triple Crown winner; he led the Majors with 36 HRs, 137 RBIs, and .356 batting average in 1942 and the AL with 32 home runs, 114 RBIs, and .343 average in 1945. Mantle became the second Yankee with this achievement when he recorded 53 homers, 130 RBIs, and .353 average to lead the majors in all three categories.
Judge was briefly on top of all three as well but has been lagging in batting average and RBI departments, though he still leads in home runs with 22. Betting websites project him to finish the season with finish with 129 RBIs and break Mark McGwire’s rookie home run record. Of course, nothing is written in stone and many things can happen in a season as long as the MLB’s.