1. Wow. What a stud. Leads the NL in all of the triple crown categories over the last 10 years.

    Albert Pujols’ claim to a Triple Crown, or two
    By Derrick Goold
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Digg Yahoo! Del.icio.us <script type="text/javascript"> </script> Facebook Reddit Drudge Google Fark Stumble It!

    TOWER GROVE — As I waded through various research projects this offseason, a fluke of clutter provided a jolt of inspiration. There, nosed up against one another in the flotsam of loose and scattered legal pads and books, was my scorecard from Opening Day 2001 at Coors Field and a Cardinals encyclopedia-of-sorts opened to Rogers Hornsby’s page.

    As a sidebar jockey for The Rocky Mountain News in 2001, I was at Coors Field to cover Mike Hampton’s brilliant debut with the Colorado Rockies. But really all of us in the press box had a much bigger moment in baseball history sneak right by. It’s there in the pencil swirls of the scorebook. Batting sixth for the Cardinals that day and starting in left field was a rookie, making his major-league debut. His name: Albert Pujols.

    Cardinals Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby won two Triple Crowns, in 1922 and 1925. (Source: National Baseball Hall of Fame)

    We all know what Pujols has done for the Cardinals since that debut — having just capped the recent Winter Warm-up by receiving his second National League MVP — just as we all know what Horsnby did in the past for the Cardinals. But there’s something only Hornsby did that Pujols could be about to do by the end of 2009 and perhaps do better.

    It has to do with the Triple Crown — and Pujols’ claim to one.

    On the floor of my office, the two met, overlapped, and got me to wondering …

    Hornsby won two Triple Crowns as a Cardinal, in 1922 (.401-42-152) and in 1925 (.403-39-143). He is the only National Leaguer to win two Triple Crowns, and the league hasn’t seen a Triple Crown since Joe “Ducky” Medwick did it with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1937. As I poked around for info on Horsnby beyond the encyclopedia page on the floor, I found references to his “decade Triple Crown.” He’s believed to be the only player to have led a league in batting average, home runs and RBIs over the span of an entire decade. (Subsequent research has shown the “belief” is misleading. Hornsby is the last NLer to do it. Others have also done it, per fact checks at Baseball-Reference.com) Hornsby did it in the 1920s:On the way to mining those statistics, I learned that Hornsby finished in the top three in batting average every year in the 1920s save 1926. (He won six consecutive batting titles in the 20s and seven total in the decade.) Hornsby, the Hall of Famer, finished in the top seven in homers every year in the Roarin’ Decade, and he ranked in the top 10 in RBIs every year but 1923. It was a remarkable run of consistent and dynamic performance and it produced something unique — the “decade” Triple Crown.

    Hall of Famer Joe &quot;Ducky&quot; Medwick, the last National Leaguer to win the Triple Crow, in 1937.

    It also sounded so familiar.

    Since that day in Coors Field, Pujols has become the first player in history to start his career with eight consecutive seasons of at least a .300 average, at least 30 home runs and at least 100 RBIs. A scan of his finishes in the National League reveals that he’s only finished first once in one category — that batting title in 2003 — but he’s also only finished out of the top 10 in two of the 24 categories (eight years, three triple-crown stats … 24). Each time he ranked 11th. In 17 of those 24 categories, he finished in the top five.

    Pujols has nearly pulled off what Hornsby did. Only better.

    It was seeing the scorecard so close to Hornsby’s bio on my office floor that got me thinking. I admit, the Triple Crown has always kept me curious. Hornsby’s “decade” Triple Crown is particularly fascinating, because what other Triple Crown spans are out there? Could a “decade” Triple Crown be done again? And could there be a “career Triple Crown”?

    Sure enough, we are watching both.

    Starting on April 2, 2001, and counting forward to the end of this most recent season, here are the standings in the Triple Crown statistics for the National League (all stats include only those while playing for a NL club):
    <blockquote>
    BATTING AVERAGE
    1. Albert Pujols … .334
    2. Todd Helton … .326
    3. Chipper Jones … .317
    4. Lance Berkman … .303
    5. Juan Pierre … .300
    </blockquote> <blockquote>
    HOME RUNS
    1. Albert Pujols … 319
    2. Adam Dunn … 278
    3. Barry Bonds … 268
    4. Lance Berkman … 263
    5. Andruw Jones … 255
    </blockquote> <blockquote>
    RBIs
    1. Albert Pujols … 977
    2. Lance Berkman … 879
    3. Aramis Ramirez … 815
    4. Andruw Jones … 770
    5. Todd Helton … 748
    </blockquote>
    Others have more RBIs in their careers and certainly more home runs, but since he made his major-league debut Pujols leads the National League in all three Triple Crown categories. And it’s not like his challengers are really that close. Through eight seasons, he has a career Triple Crown. Two more years like this and he’ll do what Hornsby did in the 1920s — only Pujols will have done it in his first 10 years in the league.

    Pujols is also in line to win the “decade” Triple Crown for the 2000s, even though he spotted the rest of te league the entire 2000 season. With Bonds out of the game in 2008, Pujols passed him in home runs for the decade lead, 319 to Bonds’ 317. Entering the final year of the decade, Pujols leads the National League in all categories, Hornsby-like, with a .334-319-977 line. See for yourself:A typical year could clinch the Hornsby Crown.

    Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols, one standard year away from a &quot;decade&quot; Triple Crown?

    Mining exact information from statistics decades old can be a dicey adventure. But using (really, exhausting) Baseball Musings and Baseball-Reference.com’s muscular Play Index, I went looking for other career Triple Crowns. I stuck with actual Triple Crown winners. The last three to lead their league in BA, HR and RBIs all came from the American League: Mickey Mantle in 1956 (.353-52-130), Frank Robinson in 1966 (.316-49-122), and Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 (.326-44-121). With a couple it’s difficult to get the exact rankings from the span of their careers, but all three had careers that mimicked the season — debut in April, last appear some time in September or October.

    Not one of the three has a claim to a career Triple Crown. But it’s close.

    From 1951 to 1968, Mantle was tops in the American League with his 536 home runs and 1,509 RBIs, but his .298 batting average ranked behind Hall of Famer Al Kaline. From 1961 to 1983, Yastrzemski was the only player to average enough plate appearances to qualify for a batting title (more than 10,000 PA), so his .285 was No. 1 in a Class of 1. But dial the PAs down to 9,000-plus and Rod Carew leapfrogs Yaz with a .331 average in that span. Yastrzemski ranked first in RBIs with 1,844, but was third in home runs with 452, trailing leader Harmon Killebrew’s 489.

    From 1956 to 1976, Robinson split his time between both leagues, so comparing him against his league peers is hardly revealing. Against all of Major League Baseball, however, he does well. His .297 batting average ranks seventh — behind leader Roberto Clemente’s .321 and, say, Lou Brock’s .296. During the span of his career, Robinson ranks second in RBIs (1,812) and second in home runs (586), and he ranks second to the same guy in both. In fact, Hank Aaron almost has a career Triple Crown — just with Robinson’s career:
    • Aaron’s batting average during Robinson’s seasons: .306 … ranks 3rd
    • Aaron’s home runs during Robinson’s seasons: 715 … ranks 1st
    • Aaron’s RBIs during Robinson’s seasons: 2,122 … ranks 1st
    Those ranks are across all of Major League Baseball. Since his debut at Coors Field, Pujols does rank well in the overall numbers — almost Aaron-like. Well, actually, almost Robinson-like to Aaron. Pujols ranks second to Alex Rodriguez in both RBIs (1,011 to 977) and home runs (364 to 319). Pujols, however, has quite a lead when it comes to batting average since his debut.
    1. Albert Pujols … 334
    2. Ichiro Suzuki … .331
    3. Todd Helton … .326
    4. Vladimir Guerrero … .323
    5. Magglio Ordonez … .317
    6. Chipper Jones … .317
    It was during Jones and his Atlanta Braves’ visits to Busch Stadium in 2006 that the topic of the Triple Crown came up in the visitor’s dugout. Atlanta manager Bobby Cox brought it up. He called the Triple Crown “one of the greatest feats in all of baseball.” Asked if he thought anyone would win another one, Cox said there was only one hitter he knew who had the blend of power and patience to make a run at a Triple Crown: Pujols.

    Turns out, Cox was already right. Pujols is.

    “He’s capable of leading in any category, but to be able to do it all in the same year takes something else,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said that same day. “If he doesn’t change his approach, takes his same at-bats, he’ll put up the numbers.”
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  2. This guy approves.

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  3. Decade triple crown talk is cool, and Pujols is an absolute beast, but I can't wait until someone finally gets an actual triple crown after all these years. 1967 was FOREVER ago!

    Edit: 1967 = Yaz's triple crown. 1937 is even more forever ago. Get with the program national league!
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  4. ---&gt; PD ?
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  5. pujols rapes so hard
    1
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  6.  
    Originally Posted by MUPokerPlayer View Post

    <BLOCKQUOTE>
    BATTING AVERAGE

    1. <LI>Albert Pujols … .334 <LI>Todd Helton … .326 <LI>Chipper Jones … .317 <LI>Lance Berkman … .303 <LI>Juan Pierre … .300</LI>
    </BLOCKQUOTE>

    only 5 guys batted .300+ for the decade, seems pretty weak...also looking at all the other names in the top 5 it doesnt seem that there were many good players playing in the national league throughout the whole decade, doesnt seem like there was any competition there for pujols to win the decade triple crown
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  7.  
    Originally Posted by sobizzle21 View Post

    only 5 guys batted .300+ for the decade, seems pretty weak

    Bonds, HanRam, Holliday, Wright all hit .310+ during that span but I guess since they didn't play all 10 years they don't make the list.
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  8. couple thoughts...first im shocked some ppl. on those lists like juann pierre and aramiz ramirez and also how weak the ppl. in hr's truly are

    also how does 319 and 977 rbis in a decade rank all time decades?
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  9. Decade triple crowns are pretty meaningless IMO. Just like &quot;who had the most hits in the 90s&quot;. That doesn't mean they were the best player from 1990-1999, just that they were in their peak during those calendar years, while others peak may have been '85-95 and '97 - '04, but since the third digit of the year didn't start with the same number, they don't get some random kudos.
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  10. Pujols is a first ballot HOF'er right now.

    That said - I HATE &quot;decade&quot; type measurements like this. It favors players who's prime starts near the beginning of the decade. What about a player who starts in 2004-2006 and who ends their prime in 2015-2016 - they won't &quot;qualify&quot; for something like this.

    For records/measurement - it's one year and career. That's it.
     
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  11.  
    Originally Posted by SpankyHamm View Post

    Pujols is a first ballot HOF'er right now.

    That said - I HATE &quot;decade&quot; type measurements like this. It favors players who's prime starts near the beginning of the decade. What about a player who starts in 2004-2006 and who ends their prime in 2015-2016 - they won't &quot;qualify&quot; for something like this.

    For records/measurement - it's one year and career. That's it.

    Copier
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  12. Saw him tonight is a hard fought 2-1 win. He of course drove one of those runs in.
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  13.  
    Originally Posted by winwin07 View Post

    Saw him tonight is a hard fought 2-1 win. He of course drove one of those runs in.

    and gave me one of the most +EV streak for the cash picks of all-time...like 80% of people picked him to have 2+ RBIs tonight.
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