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Albert Pujols - Triple Crown winner this year?

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Double J, Jul 11, 2009.

  1. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    I know this has been discussed a bit on the baseball thread but let's break it out into the open.

    The All-Star Game is on Tuesday, so we're past the midway point of the season. As of right this second, Pujols leads the majors in home runs (by eight) and in RBIs (by seven). Having gone two-for-four today, he is second in National League batting average, only nine percentage points back of top spot.

    I don't even remember the last serious challenge for a batting Triple Crown - is this the year someone finally does it again? It seems to me Pujols has a much better shot at it than Joe Mauer does of hitting .400.
     
  2. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Last serious challenge was ... not surprisingly ... Pujols himself, in 2006, when he finished 2nd (to Howard) in HRs and RBI and third to Sanchez in BA. You could actually make a case that he's challenged for it almost every year of his career.

    (And you could also make the case that he was closer to the Triple Crown in 2005 than '06 -- that year, he was 2nd to A. Jones in RBI, 3rd in HR (to A. Jones and D. Lee) and 2nd in BA, by just 5 points, to D. Lee.)

    Long, long, long way to go, though. He's got to watch out for the one-dimensional sluggers -- like Howard in years past -- in two categories and for the one-dimensional hit machines -- like Sanchez -- in the other.
     
  3. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    I thought Gary Sheffield was close one year, but a quick search on B-R shows his best was in 1996 (second in homers, sixth in RBIs and 10th in average).
    Manny was top-five in all three categories in 1999, and top-10 a few other other times.
    And Pujols himself has been top-three in all three categories in 2005 and 2006, and top-five in all three categories in 2003 and 2008.
    All of those guys finished well back in at least one category, though. The closest was probably Todd Helton in 2000. Led the league in average and RBIs (.372 and 147) and was seventh in homers with 42 (eight behind NL leader Sammy Sosa).
     
  4. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    You also have to wonder how many ABs he's going to get if he stays hot. Teams will eventually start to walk him even more than they already are.
    And you mentioned Howard, who could be a threat to overtake him in homers. That Phillies lineup is potent, and Howard tends to heat up down the stretch.
     
  5. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    Howard's 11 homers behind, so he'd better start to heat up soon.

    I realize that for a guy like Howard, that's a reasonable output over a single week's worth of games, but still......the gap is there.
     
  6. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Actually, he was very, very close in 1992.

    Sheff won the batting title (.330) by six points over Van Slyke, and was in the running for the HR/RBI titles all the way until the final two weeks. He finished two HRs behind his own teammate McGriff (35-33) and 9 RBI behind Daulton (109-100).

    IIRC, that's the closest we've come to an actual Triple Crown in the last three decades.
     
  7. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    Last four decades, you mean, since it hasn't been done since 1967.
     
  8. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    I didn't realize he was that close in '92. I remember him being near the top in all three categories, but thought he slumped a bit in September. I do remember he and McGriff almost single-handedly keeping the Padres within shouting distance of the Braves in the West, but never closer than five or six games.
     
  9. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Correct.

    (Although I did mean last three, because I knew nobody came that close in the 1980s. Don't know if anybody came as close as Sheff in the decade-plus after Yaz did it. Most likely not, but I didn't look it up to be sure.)
     
  10. Shaggy

    Shaggy Guest

    I think there's no doubt that if anyone can do it, it's Pujols. He's the best.

    Any other active players out there that could make a run one year? Justin Morneau comes to mind, especially since there's really no 40-HR hitters in the AL these days. However, Ichiro and Mauer are in the AL so a power hitter winning a batting title in the AL will be tough.

    If ARod has a great year, he could be right there. He's led the AL in all three categories at some point in his career.
     
  11. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    Yes, but he's a very long time removed from his days of hitting .358 - he's never again been within 35 points of that stat.
     
  12. Shaggy

    Shaggy Guest

    True, but .328 won it last year.
     
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