by Alex Poletti
As the Major League Baseball season reaches its end, there are still several questions left unanswered. More intriguing than the tight divisional races or home run records is the National League MVP voting, which comes down to the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger and the Brewers’ Christian Yelich. Apart from the hardware, Yelich is looking to carve his own slice of history by becoming the first horse to win the triple crown.
“Yelich and Bellinger are both having outstanding seasons,” Brewers coach Craig Counsell says. “But when people say this is a two-horse race, that’s not exactly right. It’s a person in Cody Bellinger against a full-on horse in Yeli.”
Currently, the Milwaukee right fielder has a .330 average with 44 home runs and 97 RBIs. Though he isn’t leading the league in any of those three categories, he ranks second in homers and batting, and is still within striking distance of RBIs.
“Lots of people have won the triple crown. Yaz, Miggy, to name a few,” Yelich says. “And lots of horses have also won the triple crown, albeit a different triple crown. If there’s a way I can bring those two things together, I’ll be a happy camper.”
Yelich’s father is a thoroughbred racehorse and his mother is German. Despite dazzling last year en route to MVP honors, Yelich was considered a dark horse candidate for the award heading into this season. He has exceeded all expectations, setting a career high in homers, stolen bases and batting average.
“I didn’t know if Yeli would be able to follow up what he did last year,” teammate and fellow MVP Ryan Braun says. “But during spring training, Yeli said he would hit for the triple crown. In the home stretch he’s still in contention. Some may say that story is apocryphal, but I swear to God I heard it straight from the horse’s mouth.”
No horse has ever won the triple crown before, but Frank Thomas was close in the strike-shortened 1994 season. Yelich is significant among MLB horses, because the name doesn’t come just from his genetic background.
“I don’t know how much publicity this got, but Christian Yelich just posed for the Body Issue,” Sports Illustrated Editor in Chief Chris Stone says. “You can’t see it in any photos, but let me tell you: Yelich certainly has some horse-like attributes if you get what I’m putting down.”