Aaron Judge has been chasing two major milestones that most famous baseball players only dream of – the AL single-season home run record and his first ever Triple Crown. He achieved the former on October 4th, hitting his 62nd home run of the season in a 3-2 loss to the Rangers.
Entering their final regular season game against the Rangers on October 5th, Judge was leading the AL in home runs (62) and RBIs (131). He was just a few hits away from leading the league in batting average, which would’ve completed his chase towards the Triple Crown.
Unfortunately, the New York Yankees decided to hold him out of their final game and with Luis Arraez finishing his final game 1-1, he took home the AL batting title – leaving Judge short of the Triple Crown. Nonetheless, it was an incredible season for Judge, who is due a big contract.
Famous Baseball Players That Have Won the Triple Crown
If Aaron Judge was able to pull off the Triple Crown, he would’ve achieved something that hasn’t been done since 2012. In fact, it’s something that’s only been done by 10 MLB players (and 12 times total) since runs batted in (RBI) became an official stat in 1920. It doesn’t happen often.
Even before RBIs was an official stat, only six MLB players achieved the feat between 1878 and 1920. Let’s take a quick look at the unofficial Triple Crown winners:
- Paul Hines won it in 1878 (NL) with the Providence Grays, recording a .358 batting average, 4 home runs, and 50 RBIs
- Tip O’Neill won it in 1887 (NL) with the St. Louis Browns, recording a .435 batting average, 14 home runs, and 123 RBIs
- Hugh Duffy won it in 1894 (NL) with the Boston Beaneaters, recording a .440 batting average, 18 home runs, and 145 RBIs
- Nap Lajoie won it in 1901 (AL) with the Philadelphia Athletics, recording a .426 batting average, 14 home runs, and 125 RBIs
- Ty Cobb won it in 1909 (AL and MLB) with the Detroit Tigers, recording a .377 batting average, 9 home runs, and 107 RBIs
- Heinie Zimmerman won it in 1912 (NL) with the Chicago Cubs, recording a .372 batting average, 14 home runs, and 104 RBIs
We should also highlight Oscar Charleston, Heavy Johnson, Mule Suttles, Willie Wells, Josh Gibson, Lennie Pearson, and Ted Strong – all of which achieved the feat in the Negro leagues between 1921 and 1942. Charleston did it three times, while Gibson did it twice.
With that said, let’s take a look at the 10 famous baseball players who have won the Triple Crown in the MLB since RBIs became an official stat in 1920 – including two famous baseball players that achieved it twice.
10. Rogers Hornsby (1922, 1925)
Rogers Hornsby is one of two famous baseball players to win a Triple Crown twice in their career. He first did it in 1922 in the NL with the St. Louis Cardinals, finishing the year with a .401 batting average, 42 home runs, and 152 RBIs – he also led the MLB in runs and NL in doubles.
He did it a second time with the Cardinals in 1925, finishing the year with a .403 batting average, 39 home runs, and 143 RBIs – he led the NL in batting average and the MLB in home runs and RBIs. This was also the season he won his first of two Most Valuable Player awards.
Hornsby enjoyed a 23-year career in the major leagues between 1915 and 1937. He retired with a .358 batting average, 2,930 hits, 301 home runs, 1,584 RBIs, and 1,579 runs. He won seven batting titles, the 1926 World Series, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1942.
9. Chuck Klein (1933)
Chuck Klein won the NL Triple Crown with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1933, just one year after winning his first MVP award in 1932. He led the NL in batting average (.368), home runs (28), and RBIs (120), while also leading the NL in doubles (44) and major leagues in hits (223).
He enjoyed a 17-year career in the major leagues with the Phillies, Cubs, and Pirates. He retired with a .320 batting average, 2,076 hits, 300 home runs, 1,201 RBIs, and 1,168 runs. He led the league in home runs four times, RBIs twice, hits twice, and runs scored three times.
In addition to his MVP in 1932, Klein was a two-time All-Star in 1933 and 1934. He was the MVP runner-up in 1931 and 1933, hitting at least 40 home runs in two of his first three seasons and at least 30 home runs in four of his first five. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980.
8. Jimmie Foxx (1933)
Jimmie Foxx won the AL Triple Crown in 1933 with the Philadelphia Athletics – the same year as Chuck Klein and while they played in the same city, they were on different teams. Foxx led the American League in batting average (.356) and the MLB in home runs (48) and RBIs (163).
It was the same year he won the AL MVP award for the second time – he won it the year before in 1932 and a third time in 1938. He was named to nine straight All-Star games between 1933 and 1941, won the World Series in 1929 and 1930, and was inducted into the HOF in 1951.
Foxx enjoyed a 20-year career in the major leagues, retiring with a .325 batting average, 2,646 hits, 534 home runs, 1,922 RBIs, and 1,751 runs. He led the entire MLB in home runs four times and RBIs twice. He also struck out a lot, but he more than made up for it throughout his career.
7. Lou Gehrig (1934)
Lou Gehrig won the AL Triple Crown in 1934 with the New York Yankees – just one year after Foxx and Klein won it. Gehrig led the entire major leagues in home runs (49) and RBIs (166), and the AL in batting average (.363). He came fifth in MVP voting, but was named an All-Star.
He enjoyed a 17-year career in the major leagues, retiring with a .340 batting average, 2,721 hits, 493 home runs, 1,995 RBIs, and 1,888 runs scored. He was a two-time MVP, seven-time All-Star, seven-time World Series champion, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1939.
Gehrig would’ve achieved more in his career, but was forced to retire after his amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) diagnosis – also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He gave an incredible, mesmerizing speech – “I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth,” he said.
6. Joe Medwick (1937)
Joe Medwick won the NL Triple Crown with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1937 – three seasons after Lou Gehrig achieved the feat. He led the NL in batting average (.374), home runs (31), and RBIs (154), as well as runs scored (111). He also led the MLB in doubles (56) and hits (237).
It was the same season he won his first and only NL MVP award. The left fielder made 10 All-Star appearances, including seven-straight between 1934 and 1940, and won the 1934 World Series with the Cardinals. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1968.
Medwick enjoyed a 17-year career in the major leagues with the Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants, and Braves. He retired with a .324 batting average, 2,471 hits, 205 home runs, 1,383 RBIs, and 1,198 runs scored. He led the league in hits twice, doubles three times, and RBIs three times.
5. Ted Williams (1942, 1947)
Ted Williams is the second and last player to win the Triple Crown twice in their career. He first did it in 1942, leading the AL in batting average (.356) and the MLB in home runs (36) and RBIs (137) – he also led the MLB in runs scored (141) and OPS (1.147), but was MVP runner-up.
Over the next three years, Williams served in the military and didn’t return to the MLB until 1946. While he didn’t win the Triple Crown that year, he did win the MVP and eventually achieved his second Triple Crown in 1947 with a .343 batting average, 32 home runs, and 114 runs batted in.
Williams enjoyed a 19-year career in the major leagues and retired with a .344 batting average, 2,654 hits, 521 home runs, 1,839 RBIs, and 1,798 runs. He was a two-time MVP, five-time Major League Player of the Year, 19-time All-Star, won six batting titles, and is in the Hall of Fame.
4. Mickey Mantle (1956)
Mickey Mantle won the AL and MLB Triple Crown with the New York Yankees in 1956 – nine seasons after Ted Williams last did it. He led the AL and MLB in batting average (.353), home runs (52), and RBIs (150), as well as runs (132) and OPS (1.169). He also won his first MVP.
He would follow that up with another MVP season in 1957 and a third MVP in 1962. He was a a 20-time All-Star, one-time Gold Glove winner, one-time Major League Player of the Year, and seven-time World Series champion with the New York Yankees between 1951 and 1962.
Mantle enjoyed an 18-year career in the major leagues, retiring with a .298 batting average, 2,415 hits, 536 home runs, 1,509 RBIs, and 1,676 runs scored. He led the league in runs five times, home runs four times, and walks five times, and was MVP runner-up three times.
3. Frank Robinson (1966)
Frank Robinson won the AL Triple Crown with the Baltimore Orioles in 1966 – it was his first season with the team and 10 years since Mantle achieved the feat. Robinson led the AL in batting average (.316) and RBIs (122), and led the MLB in home runs (49) and runs (122).
It was the same season he won his second and final MVP of his career – he also won it in 1961 with the Cincinnati Reds. The outfielder was a 14-time All-Star, the 1956 Rookie of the Year, a two-time World Series champion, World Series MVP, All-Star MVP, and Manager of the Year.
Robinson enjoyed a 21-year career as a player, retiring with a .294 batting average, 2,943 hits, 586 home runs, 1,812 RBIs, 204 stolen bases, and 1,829 runs scored. He led the league in runs three times and doubles once, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.
2. Carl Yastrzemski (1967)
Carl Yastrzemski won the AL Triple Crown with the Boston Red Sox in 1967 – just one year after Robinson. He led the MLB in home runs (44) and RBIs (121), and AL in batting average (.326), runs scored (112), and hits (189). He also won MVP, a Gold Glove, and was an All-Star.
It was the only MVP award he would win in his career, but he did make 18 All-Star appearances, won seven Gold Glove awards, three batting titles, one Major League Player of the Year award, and All-Star MVP. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a player in 1989.
Yastrzemski enjoyed a 23-year career in the major leagues, retiring with a .285 batting average, 3,419 hits, 452 home runs, 1,844 RBIs, 168 stolen bases, and 1,816 runs scored. He led the league in runs three times, hits twice, doubles three times, OPS four times, and walks twice.
1. Miguel Cabrera (2012)
Miguel Cabrera is the most recent player to win the Triple Crown, doing so with the Detroit Tigers (AL) in 2012 – it has been 10 years since this happened. He led the AL in batting average (.330) and the MLB in home runs (44) and RBIs (139). It was his first MVP season.
He would follow that up with another MVP season in 2013, leading the MLB in batting average (.348) – he failed to lead the league in home runs and RBIs, though. He’s a 12-time All-Star, seven-time Silver Slugger, won four batting titles, and won the 2003 World Series with Florida.
Cabrera just completed his 20th season in the major leagues, but isn’t ready to retire yet. He has a career .308 batting average, 3,088 hits, 507 home runs, 1,847 RBIs, and 1,530 runs scored. He has led the MLB in batting average three times, doubles once, and RBIs twice.
Which Famous Baseball Players Are Next Up?
As you can see, winning the Triple Crown is one of the hardest things a batter can do – but it’s not impossible. And while Aaron Judge came up short this season, he’ll have another shot at doing it next season and is currently the favorite to be the next MLB player to achieve the feat.
Paul Goldschmidt is another player that can achieve it and even came close this season – he was 5th in the NL in home runs, second in RBIs, and third in batting average. Other players include Freddie Freeman, Manny Machado, Yordan Alvarez, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr..
For now, let’s take in the many sights and sounds of the 2022 MLB postseason, which starts on Friday with four Wild Card games. Aaron Judge will continue his impressive season on October 10th after receiving a bye through the Wild Card round. Expect more hits, home runs, and RBIs!
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