"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Mission Impossible

Check out our old pal Joe Sheehan on the Triple Crown:

“Triple Crown” is one of those phrases that has an tinge of antiquity to it, like the word “mitt” or referring to “base ball” or the mythical creature called the “doubleheader”. Leading the league in the traditional “big three” categories of batting average, home runs and RBI just isn’t done any longer. No baseball fan under 50 has a memory of seeing a Triple Crown, the last being achieved by Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. For three players — Joey Votto, Albert Pujols and Carlos Gonzalez — to be making a run at the Crown is highly unusual.

To some, the lack of Triple Crown winners in modern baseball is, like the lack of complete games or the decline in contact hitting, a sign that today’s players lack skills that their forefathers did. As with those issues and a host of others, the reasons have more to do with evolution and math than they do any change in the character of baseball players. It’s harder to lead the league in three categories now because it’s harder to lead the league in any one category now. The baseball Triple Crown went from an achievement that happened now and again to a rarity the minute baseball expanded past eight teams per league. The table at right shows the relationship of league size to Triple Crown winners.


1 RIYank   ~  Sep 9, 2010 1:48 pm

Hm, that's not a very good explanation that Sheehan gives.
I mean, it's also harder to lead the league in batting average now than it was when Frank Robinson did it, for exactly the reasons that Sheehan gives (much more competition). And yet, somehow, someone manages to do it every single year! Wow!

I think Gonzalez has a legit chance this year. It will be hard for him to catch Albert for the homer lead, but it's not wildly improbable either. Of course, he'll have to hold on to the RBI and avg leads.

2 thelarmis   ~  Sep 9, 2010 3:14 pm

[1] Happy Jew Year, my friend! health, happiness and everything you want & then some to you and yours! : )

good yuntif

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