In 2012, Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown, a baseball statistic that has only ever been completed 12 times ever when he led the league in batting average (.330), homers (44), and RBI (139).
It broke a 45-year drought, and he went on to win the AL MVP.
The Triple Crown being that difficult of an accomplishment to achieve makes Cabrera’s MVP 100% validated and not up for debate. However, it is an absolute shame that it came in the same year that Mike Trout did what he did too.
Some believe Mike Trout might be the greatest all-around player ever to play baseball and has won the MVP in three other seasons. Maybe his best year ever in 2012, where he batted .326, hit 30 homers, and stole 49 bases; it happened to happen when Miggy did something that rarely happens EVER.
This season, we might run into a similar problem: something must give between Shohei Ohtani and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Vladdy is the son of Vladimir Guerrero of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, is only 22 years old, and could very well do what Miguel Cabrera did in 2012 and win the Triple Crown with a good final stretch of the season. He’s also putting this Jays team on his back during a critical point of the season- Toronto has won 13 of 16 in September to vault them into position for a Wild Card spot. He’s also hitting .318 (1st), has 46 homers (1st), 174 hits (1st), and has 104 RBI (3rd).
Over the offseason, the big story was that Vladdy lost 50 pounds to transform his body; he had been seen as someone who only hit for power when he first came into the league and had his coming out party at the home run derby. He wanted to shape himself differently to become a better all-around player. It’s made all the difference- when some players pull these drastic changes in body types, it often doesn’t work out, so it’s so refreshing to see Guerrero set a goal, achieve it, and it works out the way it has for him. His success is a storybook narrative for an MVP season.
…But there’s another storybook going on at the exact same time that no one has ever seen before ever. His name is Shohei Ohtani.
While the team success in Anaheim is nowhere near Toronto’s as the Angels are looking at their sixth-straight losing season, Shohei Ohtani has been a unicorn on an individual level. A triple-rainbow. Whatever you want to call it- there hasn’t been anything like what he has done in professional sports, and he’s been the story when we look back and remember 2021.
He throws a fastball over 100 miles per hour as a starting pitcher one inning and then effortlessly hits a 500 foot home run the very next inning. While he was successful when he was the first-ever dual-threat player, the question was whether or not his high-level play could be sustainable due to health; everyone wanted to know if he could pull this off. Well, we’re about to go through an entire 162-game season, and he’s still the best baseball athlete on the planet.
The fact that there is a player that can hit 44 home runs with a .258 batting average and steal 23 bases while also pitch with a 9-2 record has a 3.36 ERA, and 136 strikeouts in 21 games is something you can’t even put in comparison to other sports- it would be like if a 300-pound NFL defensive lineman could also sprint like Usain Bolt and throw like Patrick Mahomes.
He is THE story. We’ll think about his charming smile at the All-Star Break when he participated in the Home Run Derby, was the starting pitcher, AND hit in the leadoff spot that put him on the national stage for everyone to see his greatness. We’ll think about how when the Angels came to town; they were the big-ticket to buy for the first time in probably their franchise’s history because everyone had to see him in person. We’ll think about the people that don’t follow baseball casually asking you in a restaurant, “Hey, what’s up with this Ohtani guy?” because they’ve heard about this phenomenon on the news.
But please don’t forget about what Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is doing. This MVP-caliber season may be lost, and it should not be forgotten in the wasteland that is Ohtani’s greatness.
Maybe Guerrero will make up for it by doing what Shohei won’t have the opportunity to do- put on an absolute show in Toronto in the playoffs.
That’s just how fortunate we are as baseball fans with our plethora of young talent- to have the tragedy of having multiple MVPs in the same league at once.
Featured Image: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images