These players won the “Tiger Triple Crown”

Harry Heilmann was one of the best right-handed hitters in the history of baseball.

Harry Heilmann was one of the best right-handed hitters in the history of baseball.

Less than a week into the final month of the 2014 baseball season, it appears obvious that Miguel Cabrera is not going to lead the Tigers in all three “traditional” offensive statistics: home runs, runs batted in, and batting average. This will be the first time he has not done so since the 2008 season. Victor Martinez, meanwhile, seems like a lock to lead Detroit in batting average and home runs in 2014, and the RBI lead figures to be a close battle the rest of the way. So there remains a strong possibility that V-Mart will join an impressive list of hitters who have won the Tiger Triple Crown. Here’s a look at the players, along with the years they won it:

Sam Crawford (1905): He doesn’t really belong on this list, because he played in the Deadball Era, when home runs simply weren’t part of a team’s strategy. Crawford hit six round-trippers in ’05. Need we say more?

Ty Cobb (1907, 1909, 1911): Again, we’re talking Deadball Era here, but it should be pointed out that, until Cabrera came along, Cobb was the only Tiger to win an American League Triple Crown (with a whopping total of nine home runs).

Harry Heilmann (1921, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1927, 1928): The slugger from San Francisco won more Tiger Triple Crowns than any other player. The marquee baseball star in Detroit in the 1920s, Heilmann had a penchant for winning batting titles in odd-numbered years (1921, ’23, ’25, and ’27), and also banged out a ton of extra-base hits.

Charlie Gehringer (1933): Also known as The Mechanical Man, Gehringer batted .325 with 105 RBIs that year. His home run total wasn’t particularly impressive, however, as he tied for the team lead with 12.

Hank Greenberg (1938, 1940): During the summer of 1938, Greenberg captivated the nation as he made a legitimate run at Babe Ruth’s single-season home run mark of 60. “Hammerin’ Hank” eventually finished with 58. In 1940, he easily led the team with 41 home runs and 150 RBIs, but he was tied with Barney McCosky with a .340 average.

Al Kaline (1963, 1967): Looking at them today, Mr. Tiger’s numbers appear surprisingly modest, but it must be remembered that the 1960s were a sluggish offensive decade in the American League. In 1963 Al Kaline led the team with 27 homers, 101 runs driven in, and a .312 average. He won his second Tiger Triple Crown in 1967, when he hit 25 bombs, drove in 78, and batted .308.

Steve Kemp (1979): A fan favorite, Kemp and his twirling bat racked up numbers of 26, 105, and .318 in 1979. It can be hard being the star of a mediocre team, but Kemp was a hustler who played every game as if it was his last.

Tony Clark (1998): Clark probably suffered from the expectations of being a first-round draft pick by Detroit (second overall). Like Kemp, he was a good player who deserved better clubs during his years in the Motor City. His Tiger Triple Crown year included 34 home runs, 103 RBIs, and a .291 average.

Randall Simon (2002): Yes, that Randall Simon. The Comet from Curacao is primarily on this list because of the ineptitude of the rest of the Tiger offensive attack that summer. Still, 19 home runs, 82 RBIs, and a .301 average are solid numbers. Simon was a tough guy to strike out (30 times), but unfortunately he was also an even tougher guy to walk (he drew only 13 bases on balls, contributing to his low on-base percentage of .320). He remains the only Tiger Triple Crown winner to be traded after the season.

Dimitri Young (2003): His 29 dingers, 85 ribbies, and .297 average couldn’t stop Detroit from losing 119 games. Other than Young’s hitting, Tiger fans had very, very little to cheer about in that historically bad season.

Magglio Ordonez (2007): Ordonez followed up his ALCS-winning home run in 2006 with a truly remarkable year in ‘07. He won the American League batting title at .363, and slugged 28 homers while knocking in 139.

Miguel Cabrera (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013): Given his age and recent injuries, he may not win another Tiger Triple Crown, but this writer isn’t going to bet against it.