Friday, September 30, 2011

The Dual Triple Crown

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As we all know winning the Triple Crown in baseball is not an easy thing to do. For a batter to win it he would have to lead his league in home runs, RBIs and batting average. For a pitcher to do it he would have to lead his league in wins, strikeouts and ERA. And accomplishing all three is no walk in the park, that's for sure.

The hitting Triple Crown has only been done 16 times in major-league history, most recently by Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox in 1967.

The pitching Triple Crown has been done 38 times, most recently by the two gentlemen in the above photo. What Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw accomplished in 2011 is even a much rarer phenomena-- a Triple Crown winner in both leagues in the same season. In fact, this is only the 5th time in major-league history that the pitching Triple Crown has been simultaneously won. The hitting Triple Crown has been simultaneously won only once, in 1933. That year Hall of Famers Jimmie Foxx (Philadelphia A's - 48 HR, 163 RBI, .356 BA) and Chuck Klein (Philadelphia Phillies - 28 HR, 120 RBI, .368 BA) accomplished the rare feat.

As for Verlander and Kershaw, they are the first duo in generations to accomplish this near-impossible feat. Here are the 5 seasons where dual pitching Triple Crowns were won--

Notice the generation gap--

  • Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers - 24 W, 250 K, 2.40 ERA
  • Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers - 21 W, 248 K, 2.28 ERA
  • Walter Johnson, Washington Senators - 23 W, 158 K, 2.72 ERA
  • Dazzy Vance, Brooklyn Robins - 28 W, 262 K, 2.16 ERA
  • Walter Johnson, Senators - 23 W, 162 K, 1.27 ERA
  • Hippo Vaughn, Chicago Cubs - 22 W, 148 K, 1.74 ERA
  • Rube Waddell, Philadelphia Athletics - 27 W, 287 K, 1.48 ERA
  • Christy Mathewson, New York Giants - 31 W, 206 K, 1.27 ERA
  • Guy Hecker, Louisville Colonels (American Association) - 52 W, 385 K, 1.80 ERA
  • Charles Radbourn, Providence Grays (National League) - 59 W, 441 K, 1.38 ERA
So as we can see it doesn't happen very often. What Mr. Verlander and Mr. Kershaw accomplished is a once in a lifetime phenomena. Literally.

....And we had the privilege to witness it.

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