10/23/12 12:45 PM ET
Cabrera's feat brings back memories of past Phillies
By Larry Shenk / MLB.com
It is the 10th time in AL history that someone reached the elusive achievement. It has been accomplished only five times over in the National League, and not since Joe "Ducky" Medwick of the St. Louis Cardinals did it in 1937.
Prior to Medwick, the Phillies' Chuck Klein was the last one to do it in 1933. A left-handed hitter, Klein led the NL with a .368 average, 28 homers and 120 RBIs. Two years earlier, he led in homers (31) and RBIs (121), but his average (.337) ranked fourth.
The 1933 season was the only one in which Triple Crown winners came from teams in the same town. Jimmie Foxx of the Philadelphia Athletics shared the spotlight with Klein.
The first AL player to achieve the crown was Nap Lajoie of the Philadelphia A's in the league's 1901 inaugural season. Before that season, Lajoie played for the Phillies from 1896-1900. He jumped to the new AL in '01.
There's also a Triple Crown for pitchers (wins, ERA and strikeouts). That feat doesn't receive as much fanfare, perhaps because it has happened 34 times. Twenty of the times occurred in the NL.
The most recent Triple Crown winners among pitchers were Detroit's Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers in 2011.
Two Phillies hurlers have won the Triple Crown -- Grover "Pete" Alexander and Steve Carlton -- both of whom are Hall of Famers.
Alexander, a right-hander, became the first NL pitcher to win the crown in back-to-back seasons. In 1915 for the pennant-winning Phillies, he was 31-10 with a 1.22 ERA and 241 strikeouts. He followed that up by going 33-12 with a 1.55 ERA and 167 strikeouts. Four years later, Alexander won for a third time while pitching for the Chicago Cubs.
Twice, Alexander's ERA cost him two other Triple Crowns with the Phillies (2.38 in 1914, and 1.83 in '17). Fred Anderson of the New York Giants led the NL in '17 with a 1.44 ERA, and Alexander was second.
Robin Roberts, another Hall of Fame right-hander with the Phillies, had two-thirds of the categories, missing only because his 2.75 ERA was the second-lowest in the NL in 1953, and it was 2.97 the next season.
Carlton's crown came in 1972, his first season with the Phillies. He went 27-10 with a 1.97 ERA and 310 strikeouts. "Lefty" shared the same fate as Alexander and Roberts, twice falling short on the ERA title -- 2.34 in '80 (second) and 3.10 in '82.
Larry Shenk is the vice president of alumni relations for the Philadelphia Phillies. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.