Triple Crowns

9499112866_17a04795bc_zWho is the best? Or, at the end of the year or end of the season (the time of the year that a particular activity takes place), who was the best?

Sports commentators (someone who knows a lot about something and writes about it or discusses it) spend hours answering these questions every year. And so do the fans, the people who follow the sports.

I enjoy sports, but in general (usually), I don’t care who is or was the best. However, there is one honor (a special title given to someone who accomplishes something) – the Triple Crown – that always catches my attention because it’s a way of saying that someone was the best of the best.

Triple Crown is a term (word or expression with a particular meaning) for winning or completing the three most difficult or important events of something, such as a sport. The idea first appeared in the 19th century (1800s) England in the sport of horse racing. Since then it has spread to other countries and other sports and activities.

In the U.S., we have three well-known Triple Crowns. The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing is a series of races for three-year-old horses. A thoroughbred is a horse breed (kind) used in racing.

The first race, the Kentucky Derby, is run on the first Saturday in May in the state of Kentucky. Two weeks later the Preakness Stakes is run in Maryland. And three weeks after that, the Belmont Stakes is run in New York. Three races in five weeks and travel in between!

More than 4,000 horses have run in the three Triple Crown races. Fifty-two have won two of the three races. But only 11 horses have won the Triple Crown, and no horse has won it since 1978. Thanks to the 2010 movie about him, Secretariat is probably the most famous Triple Crown winner.

Major league baseball (the teams that make up the highest level of American professional baseball) has two Triple Crowns. One is given to a batter (player who hits the ball) if he is the best in three categories (areas):

  • Batting average – He hits the baseball a higher percentage (%) of the time than any other player.
  • Home runs – He hits the baseball out of the park (over the fence) more than any other player.
  • RBIs, or runs batted in – the number of times players score a run (point) when he hits the ball.

The first batting Triple Crown was won in 1878. Since then only 16 other players have won the award, most recently in 2012.

The second baseball Triple Crown is awarded (given as a result of winning) to a pitcher (players who throw the ball to batters). To win the pitching Triple Crown, a pitcher must:

  • Win the most games.
  • Strike out the most batters (keep them from hitting the ball).
  • Allow the fewest runs (scores or points) per game.

Thirty-eight players have won the pitching Triple Crown, including eight since 1997. Clayton Kershaw, a player for the Los Angeles Dodgers, won it in 2011.

I’m curious: do you have any Triple Crowns in your country? Some Triple Crowns, like in cycling (bicycle racing), are international.

Note: If you’re not familiar with baseball and would like to learn more, read my blog post, The Knuckleballer or Jeff’s blog post, Pinch-Hit Grand Slam.

~ Warren Ediger – ESL coach/tutor and creator of the Successful English web site.

Photo (modified) by Cesar Sangalang used under Creative Commons license.




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15 Responses to Triple Crowns

  1. Dan says:

    Hi guys, hello Warren.

    I was watching at one of my favorite show on youtube “the drunken peasants”. I had to pause that in order to read the post and doing
    a little research on Wiki since I do not follow any sport.

    Many of my coworkers know everything about football/soccer and when they talk about that I am completely lost, and just go away.

    I also had to put my female cat down. She enjoys going up on my shoulder and getting spanked just near where the tail is.

    Anyway, I have just learned that we have a Baseball championship here in Italy. I was unaware of that! I am so ignorant.
    I am not positive about that, but it looks like baseball was introduced in Italy by american soldiers after WWII. And so, we have the triple crown (Tripla Corona) as well.

    Then there is the triple crown given to cyclist that participate the three major cycling tours. The Italian, French and Spanish. Wow, that’s hard! I am not sure how the TC. is awarded though.

    And that is what I just leaned about those sports. Sorry but, again, I completely ignorant on those things.


  2. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    Great, Dan. Your comment is awesome and I enjoyed to know about it. You always have something interesting to bring up with. Congratulations.

  3. Marcos says:

    Hi everyone

    I don’t know nothing about baseball, here the national sport and most popular is football ( soccer ) but even being the most popular here I don’t watch and I went to a field maybe three times on my life, but I guess if a player won a National League, a South America Cup and a World championship he deserves a Triple Crown.

    Nice day everyone

  4. fernando says:

    Hi. This is my first time commenting on this blog.
    Among all american sports, the one I like most is football. I really love this sport.
    I think there is no Triple Crown in football, not that I’m aware of. And, here in Brazil, there isn’t such a thing among all sports.

  5. peter says:

    I recall jeff addressing the term on one of English cafe lessons . Thanks for the post. U did it warren!
    The term is transfred from my short term memory to long term memory -that is- it stays there for eternity ????
    Ask me about triple crown twenty years from now I will still be able to remember it vividly. It is amazing how our brain works. U see one piece of Info. It takes your interest. You study about it , you burn midnight oil for it in order to commit it to your memory . Well time goes by. It will typically slip rather escape ur mind if you don’t return to it. Then , as it is the case here , merely out of fluke you come across the piece of info. And it hits you. U remember reading it somewhere before or something. Bingo !!! Right there , automatically Without burning the candle at both sides the piece of info get transferred to your long term memory and get stored there for food.
    Thank warren fur that. Ur post is a beautiful piece. It cleared for me a thing or two about baseball I could not understand.
    About the post , I m into playing sports or anything. I m freakishly tall yet I m bad at sports man
    So I have to pass.
    No comment on that


  6. Dan says:


    I was thinking, and trying to make clear in my mind why I do not like entertain myself with sports.
    Thinking about it I have realized that I never look for sport, I do not care at all. I do not even think about it.

    I do not know why, but I am almost convinced that sport should be something that one does for him/herself enjoyment and not for making money.
    Said that, if they are able to make out a good living from that, good for them. I am not part of that world.

    They do not even have my respect. I mean, if you are good, say, at running or lifting weights, good for you! what do I care.

    My respect and thoughts go to people who build up roads, bridges, infrastructures, teachers! things that everyone benefits from.
    They are the ones worth of getting all those money not football players.

    As usual, I am not judging, there is room from anything.

    What do you guys think? do you agree?


  7. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    Hello Dan. I agree with you but in this modern world nothing is valued without money. The world is controlled by money. Let the things happen and don’t worry about them. I don’t care if they like to do this or that. It is their problem. I have my problems to solve and when I manage to solve them I am happy. Think better and live your life as good as you can. I hope I have helped you.

  8. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    You’ve got a friend in me.

  9. Dan says:

    Hey Aecio,
    Wait, wait. Don’t put in my mouth words I didn’t say.
    I have nothing against the so called modern world, I don’t know whether nothing is valued or not, and I don’t know what drives it.
    Money? Perhaps. It’s good, bad, I don’t know.

    I am just questioning whether sport is entertaining or not. Personally, as I said, I don’t consume sport as entertainment.
    And do not understand the amount of money some people make into that environment. That’s all.

  10. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    Better not to know this world, Dan. You’re right. It’s complicated.

  11. emiliano says:

    Reading you all, right Dan, it´s happening the same wth me that I don´t find any entertaining watching or following sports.
    May be it is my fault but in fact I do not like to watch any of the match nealy everybody like to watch and follow.

    Good or bad? I don´t know and I don´t make any kind of juice or value, it is not with me and I don´t care about any of
    the sport men or women, some how people needs to have figures to be fond of, me no.
    I love my Cuca, my daughters, my friends, and my cat and of course I am fond of them absolutely.
    I am fond of Jeff, for instance, and I do think he, Lucy or Warren are doing a great favour to thousand of people, but
    may be other sports men or women are giving lot of pleasure to millions, but at this point I don´t care, it is not my
    concern neither my business.
    Not a single euro has been ever paid by me to watch a sport match, but I have a Premium ESL because I like it and
    want to support the site.

    Sorry Friends I don´t write too much, my dear Cuca is going worst, really worst and my mind is out of the English
    subject now.

    It is just I need to make mental trips to go out from our reallity life, that´s all.


  12. Dan says:

    Hi Emi

    It is nice reading from you.
    I do not really know what to say to, you know, a couple going through that or a similar situation like Cuca and you.
    I am just sorry to hear that.


  13. emiliano says:

    Of course Dan, I understand you perfectly well.
    Frequently it is better not to say anything, but I know your feelings.
    Thank you dear, emi

  14. Parviz says:

    Hi everybody,
    I am busy like you and others.
    At some points we are all looking for something interesting and fun in our life.
    Could it be sport or other things, it doesn’t matter.
    What matters is that you love it and want to spent time on it.
    For some time we may be doing the things we have been doing for some time to past.
    But after you find your real goal, you don’t want to spend even a second away from it.
    That is what I am doing now.
    So if people like sport, so let be it.
    And if I like reading, the same let be it.
    Emiliano you already won the triple crown.
    Don’t you see yourself as a
    Great Lover,

    Great father,
    Great friend,
    My best wishes, always for you and Cuca, and others

  15. emiliano says:

    Parviz like Gatufo you always look at me with gentle eyes, very nice words to listen to.
    Thank you so much.

    Please, write me now and them when you have time.


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