KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A precious few people will ever know exactly how it looked when Miguel Cabrera, one of baseball's reluctant superstars, finally achieved 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 that had to transpire happened, all the other possibilities played out, he could finally begin to celebrate.
Prince Fielder was there, along with Justin Verlander and a few other Tigers, all of them applauding one of the game's great hitters.
"It was like, everybody said to me it was unbelievable," Cabrera said. "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 Royals 1-0, but the outcome of the game was secondary to the drama true drama that unfolded on the field.
Cabrera became 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 average, 44 home runs and 139 RBIs, becoming the majors' first Triple Crown winner in the 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 Red Sox. Granderson had homered twice to reach 43, 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.
"I am glad that he accomplished this while leading his team to the American League Central title," Yastrzemski said in a statement.