Batting title, maybe; Triple Crown, no

Updated: June 29, 2005, 4:40 PM ET
By Rob Neyer | ESPN Insider
How difficult is the Triple Crown these days? Only three active major leaguers have captured all three legs of the Triple Crown in their careers. Alex Rodriguez led the American League in batting average in 1996, RBI in 2002, and home runs in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Manny Ramirez led the AL in RBI in 1999, batting average in 2002, and home runs in 2004. Barry Bonds led the National League in RBI in 1993, home runs in 1993 and 2001, and batting average in 2002 and 2004.

Again, how difficult is the Triple Crown these days? Nobody's done it since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967, and nobody's really come all that close. Here are most (and perhaps all) of the notable near misses of the last 37 seasons:

  • In 1972, Billy Williams batted .333 to take the National League batting title, and also finished only three home runs and three RBI behind Johnny Bench, who topped the NL in both categories (but batted just .270).

  • Also in 1972, Dick Allen led the AL with 37 homers and 113 RBI, and finished third in the batting race, 10 points behind titlist Rod Carew.