BASEBALL; Triple Crown, but then what?

Winning a Triple Crown -- batting average, home run, and RBI titles in the same year -- is one of baseball's rarest feats. Since 1900 it's been achieved only 14 times, most recently by Boston's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. To trivia buffs, all this may be common knowledge, but what these players did for an encore certainly is not.

Baseball Digest, therefore, explored the subject and packaged the results in the magazine's May issue.

The study shows most of the Triple Crown winners falling off dramatically in all three offensive categories. Ted Williams had the best follow-up years, improving his home run total from 36 to 38 in 1943 and bettering his RBI output (114 to 127) and batting average (.343 to .369) in 1948 after winning his second Triple Crown. The only other players to show any improvement were Ty Cobb and Mickey Mantle, who upped their batting averages (Cobb from .377 to .385 in 1910 and Mantle from .353 to .365 in 1957), but not their home run and RBI totals.

The other Triple Crown winners were Nap Lajoie (1901), Heinie Zimmerman (1912 ), Rogers Hornsby (1922 and 1925), Chuck Klein and Jimmie Foxx (1932), Lou Gehrig (1935), Joe Medwick (1937), and Frank Robinson (1966). Strike poses statistical snag

If a player strike should materialize and the major league season come to a halt on May 23, what would happen to the batting and pitching races? No one knows at this point, not even the big-league brass, which is hoping special plans won't be necessary.

"We're all hopeful that the season will continue uninterrupted, but obviously the statistical questions have been raised," says Marty Appel of the commissioner's office. "There have been no plans made to determine formulas should the season be shortened. But it's somethng that would be dealth with . . . ."

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