A third batting crown would put Miggy in select company

Miguel Cabrera could join Ty Cobb as the only Tigers to ever win as many as three consecutive batting titles.

Miguel Cabrera could join Ty Cobb as the only Tigers to ever win as many as three consecutive batting titles.

In just five seasons in Detroit, Miguel Cabrera has already just about done it all. MVP. Triple Crown. A couple home run titles. Back-to-back batting championships. But Miggy, who turns 30 on April 18, is just hitting his stride. In 2010, he finished a distant second to Josh Hamilton in the batting race. But that .328 effort was just a warm-up to batting crowns in 2011, when he outpointed Michael Young, .344 to .338, and 2012, when he edged Mike Trout, .330 to .326. Now Cabrera is in a position to do what only a handful of others have ever accomplished: three straight batting championships.

Since 1876, only seven players have won three or more consecutive batting titles. The names sound like a roll call at Cooperstown. Ty Cobb did it twice, including an unprecedented nine straight batting crowns during the deadball era. The others are Honus Wagner, Rogers Hornsby, Rod Carew, Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn (who, like Cobb, had two separate streaks), and Stan Musial.

The list is interesting for the names that aren’t on it. Ted Williams, for instance, won back-to-back batting titles three separate times (1941-42, 1947-48, and 1957-58), but never could pull off a trifecta. Other two-timers who fell short include Joe DiMaggio, Tony Oliva, Al Simmons, Nap Lajoie, Nomar Garciaparra, Pete Rose, Roberto Clemente, and Dan Brouthers, to name just a few. In all, on 33 separate occasions since 1876 a National League or American League batting champ has gone into a season with back-to-back batting titles under his belt. Nine times that player has gone on to win a third straight crown. Nine out of 33 works out to a .273 average. Cabrera will have do much better than that at the plate in 2013 if he wants to join some very select company.

Players with Three or More Consecutive Batting Titles:

9	Ty Cobb, Detroit (1907-15)
6	Rogers Hornsby, St. Louis (1920-25)
4	Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh (1906-09)
4	Rod Carew, Minnesota (1972-75)
4	Wade Boggs, Boston (1985-88)
4	Tony Gwynn, San Diego (1994-97)
3	Ty Cobb, Detroit (1917-19)
3	Stan Musial, St. Louis (1950-52)
3	Tony Gwynn, San Diego (1987-89)