Putting Cabrera’s numbers into perspective
Here’s the thing about Miguel Cabrera in 2013: If the season ended today, he’d have a historic season on his hands.
According to baseball-reference, he’d have 17th season in Major League history with a .360+ average, 40+ home runs and 120+ RBIs. Babe Ruth is responsible for six of them.
That’s if the season ended today. Cabrera’s Tigers have 38 games left. He’s on a pace to top 50 home runs and 150 RBIs. Check the table above, and just two seasons fit that category: Babe Ruth in 1921 and Jimmie Foxx in 1932.
A lot can happen over the next 38 games. The Tigers could run away with the division to the point that they could rest Cabrera for some games in September. More opponents could just decide to walk Cabrera and take their chances with Prince Fielder. Or Cabrera could another crazy September like he did last year and surpass projections again. But the fact that we’re even discussing this in late August is astounding.
There’s going to be some sort or history at season’s end for him. Unless something crazy happens, he’ll become just the ninth hitter in Major League history — and just the fourth right-handed hitter — to win three consecutive batting titles. None of the other eight — Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs, Rod Carew, Stan Musial, Rogers Hornsby, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner or Nap Lajoie — did so with three consecutive 30-homer seasons. Only Hornsby and Cobb led their league in batting average and RBIs three consecutive seasons.
The possibilities here are more rare than winning one Triple Crown. If Cabrera wins back-to-back Triple Crowns, of course, it would be unprecedented.
By the way, if you look at the table above, there’s an amazing part to it. The numbers in bold indicate a league-leading total. Just two guys on that list won a Triple Crown with their numbers that year. Hornsby’s season in 1922 is the standard, and Lou Gehrig did it in 1934.