KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Only a precious few people will ever know exactly how it looked when Miguel Cabrera, one of baseball's reluctant superstars, finally celebrated history 45 years in the making.
Cabrera had slipped away to the visiting clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday night, where he waited out the final moments in his bid for the Triple Crown. Once everything transpired, all the other possibilities played out, he could finally revel in the feat.
"It was like, everybody said to me it was unbelievable," said Cabrera, who was joined in the clubhouse by Prince Fielder, Justin Verlander and a few other teammates. "They were excited to see this, enjoy this, be a part of something big, and winning, I feel better."
Yes, the AL Central champs managed to beat the Kansas City Royals 1-0, but the outcome of the game was secondary to the true drama that unfolded on the field.
Cabrera became just the 15th player to win baseball's Triple Crown, joining an elite list that includes Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig. Cabrera topped the American League with a .330 batting average, 44 homers and 139 RBIs, becoming the first Triple Crown winner in the major leagues since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," he said. "I can't describe the feeling right now."
Cabrera's achievement wasn't assured until the Yankees pinch-hit for Curtis Granderson in their 14-2 rout of the Boston Red Sox. Granderson had homered twice to reach 43 for the year, tied with the Rangers' Josh Hamilton and one shy of Cabrera.
Cabrera went 0 for 2 against the Royals before leaving in the fourth inning to a standing ovation. He finished the regular season hitting four points higher than Angels rookie Mike Trout, his toughest competition for AL MVP. Cabrera was the runaway leader in RBIs.