Boston Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez has been a big part of why the team has posted the best record in the league up to this point and are set to win 100 games for just the fourth time in franchise history. The 30-year-old outfielder/designated hitter hit his 40th home run of the season on Sunday as the Red Sox beat the Astros 6-5. That homer puts him just one back of Oakland’s Khris Davis for the major league lead.
That’s not the only category that Martinez is near the top of the majors in as he currently sits atop the MLB in RBI with 121 and is second in the league in batting average (.331) behind only his teammate Mookie Betts. With three weeks of baseball left to play before the postseason, Martinez finds himself in position to potentially do something the sport hasn’t seen in over 60 years.
If Martinez is able to catch, and pass, Davis and Betts in those respective categories while maintaining his lead in RBI, he will post the first “true” Triple Crown season since Mickey Mantle in 1956. Baseball fans are of course familiar with the concept of the Triple Crown as Miguel Cabrera led the American League in all three categories in 2012 on his way to winning the MVP award. But, what Martinez is attempting to accomplish is even more rare, leading the entire league in all three categories has happened just five times previously in MLB history. The other names on the list? They’re pretty legendary: Mantle (1956), Ted Williams (1942), Lou Gehrig (1934), Rogers Hornsby (1925) and Ty Cobb (1909).
The toughest deficit to overcome will be the batting title as Betts currently has him by 11 points, .342 to .331. But, if Martinez is able to pull it off, it would be quite the feat. For a look at the playoff races and news on the roster the league has put together for this year’s Japan exhibition tour, check out the video above.