Christian Yelich may have come up short in his pursuit of the National League’s first Triple Crown in more than 80 years, but it’s probably safe to assume he’ll be okay with just being a division champion — and the first-ever Brewers batting champion.
Yelich’s 3-for-4 day not only helped accentuate his claim to the National League’s MVP award, but brought his batting average to .326. Yelich had the batting crown clinched heading into Sunday’s game, but it now becomes official with the regular season in the books. Former Brewer Scooter Gennett finished in second place, hitting .310.
A few Brewers had come close to winning a batting title in the past. As Brewers PR man Mike Vassallo noted on Sunday, Robin Yount lost the 1982 batting title by a single point, finishing at .331 while Willie Wilson hit .332. Additionally, Paul Molitor hit a franchise-record .353 in 1987, but Wade Boggs hit .363. Cecil Cooper’s .352 in 1980 finished second to George Brett’s .390, and Ryan Braun’s .332 in 2011 was only eclipsed by Jose Reyes hitting .337.
That final outburst also pushes Yelich into a tie with Jeff Cirillo for the 7th-highest single-season batting average in team history — his .323 coming into the day had him sitting in 10th.
The historic significance of Yelich’s first season in Milwaukee doesn’t stop there.
Yelich’s 3-for-4 day also means he finishes the year with an OBP of .402 and an OPS of 1.000. That makes him the first Brewer with an OBP of .400 or better since Prince Fielder in 2011, and that .402 OBP is tied for 8th in franchise history.
He’s also the first Brewer in nearly 10 years to OPS 1.000 in a season, the last being Fielder in 2009. Yelich joins Prince and Paul Molitor as the only Brewers to ever OPS 1.000 for a season, and Yelich and Molitor are the only two Brewers to ever hit .300 or better, OBP .400 or better, and OPS 1.000 or better in the same season.
Whether or not that’s enough for him to come away with the league’s MVP award remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt we just witnessed one of the greatest regular seasons a Brewer has ever had.