Baseball the Beautiful Game: The Triple Crown

English: Miguel Cabrera at Dodger Stadium.

English: Miguel Cabrera at Dodger Stadium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In recent years, the news surrounding baseball strays to easily from the actual game. Terms like performance enhancing drugs, grand jury, and perjury flooded the world of baseball. As a fan and baseball blogger, I find this tragic. Which is why I take pleasure in discussing an aspect of the beautiful game and its history that hasn’t seen the spotlight for a while: The Triple Crown.

History

Carl Yastrzemski, Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Nap Lajoie, Mickey Mantle, are just a few names associated with the Triple Crown, (see a complete list here). Yastrzemski was the last to win the crown in 1967. If you were around to see this, lucky you. Winning the crown is one of the rare feats in baseball. Going back to 1878, only 14 players have one the crown, with Jimmie Foxx, Rogers Hornsby, and Ted Williams each winning twice. The art of hitting is rarely mastered, to achieve the highest batting average, most home runs, and most runs-batted-in for one season, is truly a spectacle.

Miguel Cabrera

The Tigers Miguel Cabrera is currently batting .327, with 42 HRs, and 133 RBI. To know there is a player, in either league, this close to achieving the crown is exciting. This is good for Cabrera. This is good for the Tigers. This is good for baseball. Most importantly, this is good for baseball fans.

The true beauty of baseball is the rich history of on-field accomplishments. I hope Cabrera wins the crown. If we look at when Yastrzemski last won in 1967 and the rarity of the accomplishment, it truly is a once in a lifetime event for the baseball fan. This is baseball history in the making.

Good luck Miguel Cabrera, and thanks for the show.

Baseball: The Beautiful Game

Ripken in the latter part of his career

Ripken in the latter part of his career (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the second post in Baseball: The Beautiful Game Series. This post focuses not on a game or series of games, but a career. A baseball career that was iconic. This career belonged to none other than Cal Ripken, Jr.

The beauty of baseball is the history of the game. That history is held dear by casual observers, and students of the game alike. Ripken is an icon who is untarnished. His greatest achievement, the most consecutive games played, is a record I feel will stand for all-time. Ripken’s achievement transcends American sports. Few athletes maintain productive longevity. Ripken’s career spanned a total of 21 seasons. An 18-time all-star, 3,184 hits, and 431 HRs isn’t exactly an average player.

The Iron Man represents the uniqueness of baseball’s star power. Where other sports tend to rely on multiple stars to promote and attract the fan base, baseball can have one individual. Ripken is such an example. Baseball’s beauty comes from names like Ruth, Dimaggio, Jackson, Jeter, and Ripken, Jr. Regardless of whether or not you were an Orioles fan, you rooted for Ripken. We cheered when he surpassed Gehrig’s record. Ripken carried the sport of baseball on his shoulders and still stood up straight.

Historical Perspective

The beauty of the game is nothing without career’s like Ripken’s. To accomplish his achievements in sport today is rare. True, many athletes continue to play long after the spotlight. Few carry the respect, and the ability to keep fans watching. The Iron Man is a testament to the history of the game. He broke the record held by one of the immortals, Lou Gehrig. Let’s place some historical perspective on this. Gehrig is a baseball legend. Cal will forever be linked with Gehrig. Two immortals whose careers are mentioned in the same breath every time.

Players like Ripken are rare. The beautiful game of baseball brings these players into our living rooms,  our tablets, in the newspapers, and into our memories. Thanks Cal.

Baseball: The Beautiful Game

Around the globe, soccer, better known as football, is considered the beautiful game. I posit this, baseball is the true beautiful game. Normally I would like to support my argument with multiple examples. Except I have only one for this first installment of this new series:  Baseball: The Beautiful Game. This past Monday, the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels squared off. If you, like me, measure the beauty of the game in dramatic value, this game was Shakespearean for sure.

The game included tragedy: Jered Weaver’s early exit from the game due to injury. The Angel’s collective anxiety over his loss.

The plot that is characteristic of every baseball game: the ultimate test of run scoring and the constant strategy used by the teams in the ultimate duel.

Finally, the excitement of blown leads and the walk-off home run to end the tie and attain victory. All the while, the despair of defeat.  Oh the agony.

Baseball is a drama played night in and night out. The players as characters, change. The game, the plot, remains the same. The beauty is the joy we get, regardless of winners and losers, watching these contests. I say baseball is the beautiful game.

Disclaimer: As I post this, please be aware, in my attempt to create my argument there was nothing beautiful about my beloved Yankees losing.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think! Stay tuned for future installments of Baseball: The Beautiful Game.