The Yankees fell to the Marlins, 5-0, on the final day of the 2020 regular season, but they did clinch two titles.
By going 2-for-3 on Sunday, DJ LeMahieu finished with a .364 average, the best in the Majors, while Luke Voit finished with an MLB-high 22 home runs. Both players bested Chicago White Sox in the AL races, as well, with LeMahieu 42 points ahead of Tim Anderson for the batting crown and Voit three up on Jose Abreu for the homer title.
Chicago spoiled the Yankees’ AL Triple Crown try, though, as Abreu’s 60 RBI topped Voit’s 56 for tops in the junior circuit (and MLB), but together, DJ and Luke are the fifth pair of teammates in MLB history to lead the league in batting average and home runs.
LeMahieu wins his second batting crown – his first came in 2016 in Colorado, when his .346 average also led the Majors – and becomes the fourth Yankee to lead all of baseball in batting average, and first since 1956; Mickey Mantle (.353 in ’56), Joe DiMaggio (.381 in 1939), and Lou Gehrig (.363 in 1934) are the others.
“The Machine” is also the Yankees’ tenth AL batting champ overall, and first since Bernie Williams in 1998 (.339). In addition to Bernie and the three above, the other four are Paul O’Neill (.359 in the strike-shortened 1994 season), Don Mattingly (.343 in 1984), Snuffy Stirnweiss (.309 in 1945), DiMaggio (.352 in 1940, his second straight), and Babe Ruth (.378 in 1924).
As for Voit, his 22 homers in 56 games is an average of 0.39 per game played, which extrapolates out to 64 homers in a full 162-game season – a number that would, of course, be a Yankees team record. That mark falls to 59 if you extrapolate out Voit missing one of every 15 games for a full season (rounded up, that means he’d play in 151 games), and that total would tie Babe Ruth’s 1921 season for third-best in franchise history (behind Roger Maris’ 61 in ’61 and Ruth’s 60 in 1927, both of which were then-MLB record single season totals).
Voit’s 9.68 AB/HR ratio (22 in 218 at-bats) also puts him in rarefied air, as the Top 5 in Yankees lore are three of Ruth’s seasons (8.5 in 1920, 9.0 in 1927, 9.2 in 1921) and the M&M Boys’ race of ’61 (Mantle 9.5, Maris 9.7).
He is also the 18th Yankee to lead MLB in home runs outright, and 29th Yankee to win all or part of an AL home run title; Alex Rodriguez (54 homers in 2007) and Aaron Judge (52 in 2017) were the last to do each, respectively, and the latter total includes two ties: Reggie Jackson tying Milwaukee’s Ben Ogilvie with 41 homers in 1980, and Ruth and Gehrig tying each other with 41 in 1931.
The Yankees also found out on Sunday that they will be heading to Cleveland for the AL Wild Card Round, starting on Tuesday; the Blue Jays’ loss to Baltimore on Sunday clinched the No. 5 seed for the Bombers, and Cleveland’s win combined with the White Sox’ gave the Indians the No. 4 seed.
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