Only a precious few people will ever know just how it looked when Miguel Cabrera, one of baseball’s reluctant stars, finally celebrated history 45 years in the making.
Cabrera had slipped away to the visiting clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium where he waited out the final moments in his bid for the Triple Crown. Once everything transpired, all of the other probabilities played out, he could finally revel in the accomplishment.
“It was like, everyone said to me it was unbelievable,” declared Cabrera, who was joined in the clubhouse by Prince Fielder, Justin Verlander and one or two other teammates. “They were excited to see this, like this, be part of something large, and winning, I feel better.”
Yes, the AL Central champions managed to beat the KC Royals 1-0, but the outcome of the game was secondary to the true drama that unfolded on the field.
Cabrera became just the 15th player to win baseball’s Triple Crown, joining a top-flight list that includes Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig. Cabrera topped the American League with a .330 batting average, 44 homers and 139 RBIs, becoming the 1st Triple Crown winner in the major leagues since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” he claimed. “I can’t describe the feeling right now.”
Cabrera’s achievement wasn’t assured until the Yankees pinch hit for Curtis Granderson in their 14-2 rout of the Red Sox. Granderson had homered twice to reach 43 for the year, tied with the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton and one shy of Cabrera.
Cabrera went 0-for-2 against the Royals before leaving in the 4th inning to a warm ovation. He finished the regular season hitting 4 points higher than Angels’ rookie Mike Trout, his toughest competition for AL MVP. Cabrera was the runaway leader in RBIs.
“I am happy that he accomplished this while leading his team to the AL Central title,” Yastrzemski said in an announcement, indicating that his Boston Red Sox reached the World Series when he won one of baseball’s most coveted titles.
“It was hard the last 2 days because everybody talked about it. I just had to concentrate; I had to go out there and do the job,” Cabrera declared. “The hardest part was to go out there and focus and win games. I announced, ‘If we win the division, all would look after itself.’” Baseball scores
The crowd at Kauffman Stadium gave Cabrera a warm ovation before he flied out in the 1st inning. He struck out in the 4th but stayed in the game, allowing manager Jim Leyland to remove him with 2 outs to another enthusiastic ovation from thousands of appreciative fans.
Cabrera high-fived his teammates as he entered the Detroit dugout, and then walked back to the top step and waved his helmet, just as if he were celebrating at home.
“I would say without any question he’s enjoyed it. How could you not enjoy what he’s done if you are a baseball player?” Leyland announced. “I doubt very much, knowing him that he necessarily enjoys all the extra attention and all the extra conversations he’s had to have. It is a little out of his realm in personality, to be honest with you.”